With the No. 9/11 Florida Gators (10-2) set to play their first game of the Southeastern Conference schedule on Wednesday at home against the Georgia Bulldogs (6-7), head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Monday to discuss his team’s issues and mindset at the conclusion of non-conference play.
STARTER OUT FOR A WHILE?
Senior forward Erik Murphy was no doubt disappointed that he was unable to play in front of hundreds of family and friends that made the trek out to the Yale game on Sunday, but news announced Monday afternoon likely put him further in the dumps. According to Florida, X-rays on Murphy’s injured ribs revealed that one rib is fractured and not simply bruised as he and the team had hoped.
“It happened at Air Force. He had some discomfort but nothing really significant where he couldn’t practice,” Donovan said. “He practiced on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and was fine. He got hit again there on Wednesday and then he came back on Friday and tried to practice and he couldn’t’ go. And then in shootaround [Sunday], we tried to put him in shootaround, and he did a little bit but he was still challenged physically. It’s in a really bad spot, the injury, because it’s right by his lat so any time he lifts his arms up there’s a significant amount of pain.”
Even though his rib is broken, Murphy is cleared to play because he cannot do any further damage to it. However, the amount of pain he is in due to the location of the injury and how inhibiting it is means that he is the only one who can determine when he is able to return to the court. That is why the Gators’ second-leading scorer (12.1 points per game) and best three-point shooter (45.2 percent) will remain “doubtful” to play.
“He’s cleared to play right now. He can play. But it’s all up to him how much pain he can tolerate. He’s not going to significantly hurt himself any more because he’ll be padded up and it’s not going to be a problem. But what happens is, if he gets hit there or when he reaches and stretches, it becomes so uncomfortable. His breathing is a problem. His sleeping is a problem,” Donovan said. “Him playing on Wednesday has nothing to do if the diagnosis comes back that they’re broken or bruised. That has nothing to do with whether or not he’ll play. It’s all up to him.”
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