Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/11/12
GAINESVILLE, Fla. The sequence of events happened so fast that it was easy for anyone watching to become dazed. One second Gators forward Will Yeguete had the ball on Florida's end of the court. The next second Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes was headed in for a layup at the other end. Suddenly, Yeguete comes flying out of nowhere to block Stokes' shot. The packed O'Dome roared. And then it fell quiet. While play continued and Tennessee's Trae Golden grabbed the blocked shot and scored, the teams headed the other way until officials noticed Yeguete still lying underneath the Volunteers' basket. The 6-foot-7 sophomore tried to get up but fell back down with a little more than 14 minutes left in the first half. Replays showed that after flying in to block Stokes' shot, Yeguete landed head-first into the padded support beam that holds the basket in place. "I didn't see the play, but I do know when I got over there he was knocked out," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "He wasn't even conscious, wasn't even awake when I was over there. I was a little bit concerned there and he finally woke up and he didn't know where he was at." Trainer Duke Werner and an assistant treated Yeguete for a few minutes until he finally was able to sit up as trainers pressed a towel to his head. Donovan said Yeguete suffered a concussion. He never returned after only playing two minutes and needed eight stitches to close a gash above his right eye according to Werner. Yeguete's status for Tuesday's game at Alabama remains uncertain. Donovan said Yeguete would not practice Sunday and that he considerers him doubtful to play against the Crimson Tide. What is known is that in the Gators' 75-70 loss Saturday, Yeguete was missed terribly by the Gators, who had their 19-game home win streak snapped. Yeguete does a lot of Florida's dirty work such as setting screens, diving for loose balls, taking charges and basically anything that needs to be done. He entered Saturday's game averaging 4.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals. He often defends the opposing team's most dangerous post player to help keep Patric Young out of foul trouble. When Yeguete left Saturday's game the Gators trailed 9-8. By halftime the Vols had stretched their lead to 41-30 as Florida's offense suffered from Yeguete's absence and his ability to set screens, improve spacing and crash the offensive glass. "We didn't execute like we needed to do on offense," Donovan said. "Patric played way too many minutes as did Erik Murphy. We didn't have a lot to go with there once Will went out, and once Murphy and Patric had two fouls. We just tried to limp our way to the half and see if we could regroup and do better in the second half." Defensively, the Gators' ability to pressure the Vols suffered without Yeguete on the floor. Florida was also without reserve guard Mike Rosario, who missed the game due to a sore hip. Yeguete is often the key player at the top of the press and with him out and Young and Murphy with two fouls apiece in the first half, the Gators were limited in playing full-court pressure defense. "He does it on both ends," said Gators freshman guard Bradley Beal. "Will has the ability to hurt an offense and defense because he can offensive rebound and get defensive rebounds that gets our break started. If he offensive rebounds, that gets us more shots. "It was pretty tough without him but at the same time you have to keep playing." Young played 36 minutes, Murphy played 27, and the trio of guards Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Beal each played at least 34 minutes with the lack of depth on the bench. Besides the lack of bodies, the Gators missed Yeguete's energy and toughness. He seems to always be around the ball. In his two minutes Saturday, he recorded a block, a steal and a turnover. Boynton said the Gators needed the most help on the defensive boards Saturday. "Before Yeguete got into the game we were getting killed on the boards. We were getting killed the whole game. We weren't going to the boards; we weren't helping each other out on defense. They were driving on us. We have got get better on defense." Yeguete getting back on the floor soon is one way the Gators can improve quickly. It's definitely a sight Donovan would prefer over the one he saw Saturday. "When he rolled over, he had a lot of blood coming out the cut above his eye," Donovan said. " He failed the concussion test. A lot of it is going to be how well he responds. I would say he's doubtful for Tuesday's game. The doctors have not told me he can't play, but that would be my guess."
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