Posted February 25, 2013 on AP on Fox
Florida coach Billy Donovan is cautiously optimistic about his team's health. Forward Will Yeguete and guard Michael Frazier II were cleared to practice and play Thursday, giving Donovan a full complement of players heading into Saturday's game against Alabama. It's the first time in three weeks the eighth-ranked Gators (22-5, 12-3 Southeastern Conference) have been fully healthy. But Donovan doesn't want his players putting too much stock in having Yeguete and Frazier back in the mix. ''They've got understand that they've got to step up and they've got to play and they cannot take the approach of, `Well, we're a little bit deeper. We have more guys available,''' Donovan said. ''Because I just don't know if Frazier and/or Yeguete are going to be really able to provide some significant minutes for us.'' Yeguete, a 6-foot-7 junior averaging 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds, missed the last six games following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Frazier, a 6-foot-4 freshman averaging 6.4 points, sat out Tuesday night's loss at Tennessee with a concussion. Without them, the Gators pretty much went with a six-man rotation against the Volunteers and seemed to wear down in the second half. Swingman Casey Prather also went down with what looked like a concussion in the final minutes against Tennessee. But Donovan says Prather, who missed four games early in the season because of a concussion, passed baseline tests and is fine. ''Obviously, it's great to have those guys back,'' forward Erik Murphy said. ''You know, it gives us back a full team, at full strength. But I think that doesn't give us any reason to expect anything out of them. ... We can't expect too much out of those guys. Everybody's got to stay on edge, continue to stay focused and do what they're doing.'' Yeguete's injury caused the most concern. Initially, Donovan said the Frenchman would miss at least the remainder of the regular season. But Yeguete's knee responded well following surgery to remove loose bodies Feb. 8. Yeguete has been running and cutting more than a week, but hadn't practiced fully until Thursday. ''I have no idea right now,'' Donovan said before practice. ''My expectation on him going into the game is not very high just because I haven't seen him play. Obviously, he's got two days to practice, but I would be hard-pressed to believe he's going to be the same player he was before he went down with his injury. It'll probably take him some time to get back, but at least he can start working to get back in shape and get back in rhythm and timing and those kinds of things.'' Yeguete, who also missed several games late last season, was nervous and eager to get back on the court. ''I feel like a little kid right now,'' he said. ''I'm a little excited to get back out there. I feel like it's been a minute since I played with those guys and on the court and competing. But at the same time, I'm not going to be like 100 percent and not going to be able to go up and down for 30 minutes like a regular practice. So it's going to take time. It's going to be a process. I think the coaches know that, and I'm ready to go whenever they want me to go.'' Yeguete still has to get used to playing with a bulky knee brace. ''I feel like I'm not free,'' he said. ''My knee is still kind of strapped up or something, but if that's what I have to do and the safest thing to do, I have to play with it and just get used to it. It was a bit harder in the beginning, but now I'm getting used to it.'' The Tide (19-9, 11-4) is the first test. The game also could decide the regular-season title. A win would put the Gators, who are 13-0 at home this season, two games up over Alabama with two to play. Florida, though, cares more about getting healthy in time for the postseason. ''I always get nervous when guys miss practice and games because there is a rhythm that you kind of miss out on - the normal routine of going through practice, going through shooting, going through individual instruction and game preparation, getting ready to play, being out on the court, going through shoot-around, all those things,'' Donovan said. ''And when those things are taken away, it takes a little bit of time to get back. ... We've got to play with the guys that really kind of have been there, so to speak, for the last several weeks.''

Gators' Frazier, Yeguete could be back soon

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) --No. 8 Florida has been through this before -- all year really. The Gators will be without two key backups at Tennessee on Tuesday night, the latest injuries woes for coach Billy Donovan's team. Guard Michael Frazier II (concussion) and forward Will Yeguete (knee) will miss the game, but could be back Saturday against Alabama. Frazier sustained a concussion...

Updates on Frazier, Yeguete injuries

The hope for Florida was to get the entire team healthy by the time the SEC Tournament started. For a team that has been banged up with multiple injuries throughout the season, it looks like the Gators could get back to their trusted eight-man rotation as early as Saturday. Michael Frazier and Will Yeguete could return when the Gators host Alabama this weekend.

Video: Florida's Casey Prather leaves game with gash on head

Florida's trip to Knoxville on Tuesday was a rather painful one.Billy Donovan's Gators fell to the Volunteers by a score of 64-58 and dropped to 1-7 in their last eight road games at Thompson-Boling Arena.However, no Florida player felt the sting of this loss more than Casey Prather, who was forced to leave the game with just under three minutes to go after suffering a head...

Gators drop in polls

Florida fell to No. 8 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 6 in the Coaches’ Poll following a loss at Missouri on Tuesday. The Gators now start a tough week at Tennessee on Tuesday and then hosting Alabama on Saturday.

Watch: The NFL according to British Teenagers

I was strolling through the internet this evening and came across a video that made my night. Here’s a video that has gone viral of British Teenagers talking about the NFL and it’s quite hilarious! Perhaps my favorite part is when they’re asking about football terminology and the lad in the Florida Gators (the Alma Mater of one Tim Tebow) sweater is asked about Tebow, and he...

Florida falls in Knoxville

The Gators made the trip to Knoxville undermanned. With a six-man rotation and a couple other inexperienced freshmen off the bench, Tuesday was already set as a challenge for No. 8 Florida. The two freshmen totaled 10 minutes while the Gators elected to go mostly with a six-man rotation. Three players were on the court for over 35 minutes as the Gators lost 64-58 to Tennessee.

Gators face challenge after Frazier goes down

GAINESVILLE, Fla. When the Gators are at full strength, which has not been often this season, Billy Donovan has a solid eight-man rotation upon which he can rely. He used only seven players in the Gators' 71-54 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at the O'Connell Center, still adjusting to life without junior forward Will Yeguete, who missed...

Volunteers playing better than their record

The Gators travel to Knoxville to face a Tennessee team that boasts a 16-10 record and is 8-6 in Southeastern Conference play. Those numbers don’t tell the entire story. The Volunteers have won five straight games and seven of their last nine. The Gators have won just one of their last seven trips to Knoxville, and they’ll be challenged with a short bench on Tuesday night.

Disciplined offense dominates the paint

The Gators learned a lesson on Tuesday. At least that’s what Florida head coach Billy Donovan hopes that Saturday’s outcome showed. The Gators launched three-point attempts without hesitation at Missouri, and in the end, the reliance on the perimeter was the team’s undoing. Saturday’s conference win over Arkansas showed the Gators can still go inside when they need points in the paint.

Dastrup Really Enjoys Florida Experience

He isn’t your normal superstar basketball prospect in many ways. He’s humble, sincere, spiritual, but he’s also versatile on the court. His style of play is something that fits Billy Donovan and the Florida Gator style to a tee. Payton Dastrup is a 6-10, 230 pound nationally fifth ranked center and he got to see Florida basketball first-hand this past weekend.
Gators News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.