UF MEN'S BASKETBALL

Injured back keeps Drejer sidelined


Published: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 12:10 a.m.

Forward Christian Drejer, who sat out his first game of the season Wednesday with a bruised lower back, remains questionable for Saturday's game against Auburn.

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Florida forward Christian Drejer looked good against Tennessee on Jan. 10, but he missed Wednesday's game because of a bad back.

DARON DEAN/Special to The Sun

Florida coach Billy Donovan did not expect Drejer to practice Thursday. Drejer did not play in Florida's a 79-68 loss to Mississippi State after he decided his back wasn't 100 percent healthy during the pregame shoot-around.

"There's really not much we can do in the way of treatment right now," Donovan said. "Obviously he has a bruise on his back which affects his running, his cutting. How long can he take that? I'm not sure."

Drejer injured his back after falling on it going up for a rebound against Vanderbilt on Saturday. He sat out the final 10 minutes of that game and did not practice Monday.

Donovan said he didn't put pressure on Drejer to return to the lineup. Drejer came into Wednesday averaging 11.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

"I think Christian's mindset, being a European player, is he feels as if he can't give it 100 percent, if he can't do things he normally can do, he shouldn't be out there," Donovan said. "He felt like the pain was too severe in his back to do the cutting, jumping and things he needs to do on offense and defense."

Injury problems aren't new to Drejer. Last year, Drejer sat out the first 15 games of the season with foot and ankle problems that limited his production his freshman season.

Donovan refused to use Drejer's absence as a crutch for his team's poor play.

"I don't know if having Christian in there would have made that much of a difference," he said. "That's taking away from Mississippi State and the performance they had."

  • HOME-COURT DISADVANTAGE: Florida suffered its second home loss this season, one more than it had all of last season in going 15-1 at the O'Connell Center.

    Florida's lone home loss last season was to Kentucky, a team it has yet to play so far this year. The teams will meet in the O'Connell Center on Feb. 3.

    Road wins are hard to come by in the Southeastern Conference, though teams are bucking that trend this season. Georgia went into Kentucky on Saturday and won at Rupp Arena. Kentucky turned around and beat Tennessee in overtime Tuesday on Tennessee's home floor.

    "Coaching in this league for eight years I've learned that games go by quickly," Donovan said. "In 2001, we lost back-to-back to Georgia and Vanderbilt at home and came back to win the SEC. So, a lot can happen."

    It was only their sixth loss at home to a team from the SEC in the past four years, and none of those was by more than five points.

  • ICE COLD: Florida shot 38.7 percent from the floor Wednesday night, its lowest percentage since shooting a season-low 31.3 percent in its home loss Dec. 10 against Maryland.

    Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury came in with the game plan of double-teaming David Lee down low at the expense of leaving Florida's other big men open on the perimeter. It worked. Forwards Adrian Moss and Chris Richard took ill-advised shots out of their range. Moss finished 0-of-9 from the floor.

    You can reach Kevin Brockway at brockwk@gvillesun.com or 374-5054.

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