Updated Feb. 24 at 12:15 a.m.
No. 13/13 Florida Gators (21-5, 10-2 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability Wednesday.
PARSONS LIKELY TO PLAY THURSDAY
Though he missed Sunday’s game at LSU with a deep thigh bruise, senior forward Chandler Parsons is expected to play Thursday vs. Georgia in the second-to-last home game of his Florida career as long as he practices without significant pain Wednesday.
“We’ve made some positive progress. [Tuesday] we were able to work him out individually,” Donovan said. “He felt much, much better, probably the best he has felt up until this point in time. We’re going to put him in practice [Wednesday] at 3 p.m., just to see how he responds physically. My biggest concern as a coach is when you’ve got a guy that’s been out 10-12 days like this and hasn’t done anything, I just want to see how he responds in a competitive situation.
“If that goes well, I don’t anticipate him starting tomorrow, but I would anticipate playing him if things went well in practice and he felt good because he has made some good strides and he has made some positive progress.”
Donovan also discussed why Parsons needs to get work in at practice in order to be ready. “The biggest thing that he talks about right now is the pain, which was really preventing him on Friday from doing much, is not there [anymore],” he said. “Timing, that’s a big thing when you haven’t played at all. Catching, shooting, rhythm – that’s big. As he described it, he probably feels a little heavy legged. Probably not moving with the fluidity he did beforehand. He’s got to have the level of confidence that he’s OK.”
PRATHER LIKELY FILLING IN AGAIN AS STARTER
With Parsons out of the starting lineup, Donovan is once again “leaning” towards replacing him with freshman F Casey Prather, who took his place at LSU on Thursday. However, Donovan is being very careful in making sure that even if Parsons does play, it does not affect the mindset of some of the team’s role players.
“Our guys coming off the bench have got to understand that they have to be prepared and ready to play in any situation – whether its five minutes or 18 minutes,” he said. “We can’t have a situation where our guys try to back away and just settle into a role. We can’t have that.”
FOCUSING ON ONE GAME AT A TIME
Donovan often points out that he is bothered with some of the outside distractions that can affect the team this time of year. Over the last three seasons, it has been about Florida’s place on the bubble and whether or not they would earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament. With that settled this year, Donovan is trying to brush off talk of the team clinching the SEC East and potentially winning the conference title.
“We’ve never talked, as a team, about winning the SEC East. We’ve talked about trying to win a SEC Championship, as every team does. That’s an overall league championship,” he said. “Right now there are enough teams that are within striking distance of us. Right now, we have four games remaining and three of these four are going to come very, very quickly. When you’re walking up a flight of stairs trying to get to the top, if you miss a couple steps, you may fall all the way back down to the bottom.
“We’re excited about the opportunity we have as a team, and the position we’re in right now. At the same point, if you don’t take care of what’s in front of you today, you can forget about down the road.”
QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 2/23: Donovan provides injury update, notes