Florida: Injured backups back soon

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Eighth-ranked Florida may be getting two key players back on Saturday, just in time for a stretch run in the Southeastern Conference.

UF coach Billy Donovan said Monday that guard Michael Frazier II (concussion) and forward Will Yeguete (knee) won't play against Tennessee on Tuesday but could return for the Gators' home game against Alabama.

Yeguete has been out since having arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right knee on Feb. 8. Frazier suffered a concussion in the Gators' victory over Arkansas on Saturday.

"Frazier's going to come back at some point. So is Will Yeguete," Donovan said. "When that actually is, no one really knows right now but I think they'll be a point where we have our team fully back and we'll have a full complement of players."

The 6-foot-7 Yeguete, who is UF's second-leading rebounder (6.3 per game) and a key part of the Gators' full-court press, had been dealing with tendinitis in his right knee for several weeks and further injured his knee during the Gators' 80-69 loss at Arkansas on Feb. 5.

Donovan said Yeguete ran sprints last Thursday and Friday, began cutting and shooting on Friday, and participated in the pregame warm-up on Saturday. Doctors monitored his knee for swelling each day, and cleared him to move forward when none was noted.

Donovan says he anticipates Yeguete being cleared for non-contact work in practice this week.

"There's a process he has to go through before the doctors feel comfortable," Donovan said. "The thing that would set him back would be the swelling part of it. They are not going to thrust him so fast into doing something just to have him [have a] setback. They are going pretty slow with him now.

"I would think he would be injected into practice in some shape or form. Whether or not that means he can play Saturday, I don't know. A lot will depend on how he responds."

Frazier, who is averaging 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and is the Gators' top 3-point shooter (48.9 percent) and the most effective freshman, was injured when he dove for a loose ball with 11:42 remaining in UF's 71-54 victory over Arkansas.

Donovan said Frazier has not passed all of the concussion tests to be cleared to resume practicing, but anticipates that Frazier will be cleared to do some light work by Tuesday.

"It probably wasn't as severe as maybe first originally thought, but I still think there's a protocol they all have to go through with the doctors and trainer, steps they've got to go through in order for him to be cleared," Donovan said. "I would imagine if not today, then tomorrow he'll start to get into some light exercises and see how he responds."

Florida (22-4, 12-2) leads Kentucky (19-8, 10-4) and Alabama (18-9, 10-4) by two games in the SEC standings. UF closes out the regular season against Alabama (Saturday), Vanderbilt (March 6) and at Kentucky (March 9).