Depth takes hit with Frazier injury
Published: Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 12:11 a.m.
With Will Yeguete out until the SEC Tournament and the Gators down to a seven-man rotation, the last thing coach Billy Donovan wanted to see was a motionless player on the floor.
So when freshman guard Michael Frazier II was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the second half of Florida's 71-54 win over Arkansas on Saturday night, it instantly complicated things in a major way for the thinning Gators.
“We've got to play eight guys,” Donovan said. “We've got to get another guy to go in there. We have to use Braxton (Ogbueze) or Dillon (Graham) because right now Yeguete isn't playing Tuesday and neither is Frazier, so in terms of rotation, six guys is not enough to go to Knoxville with.”
Despite being down to six players, the Gators maintained their energy and hustle. Florida outrebounded Arkansas 38-30, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds. The Gators drew charges, dove on the floor for loose balls and managed a defensive effort that held the Razorbacks to 36.2 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from 3-point range.
The setback to Frazier — who finished with six points, three rebounds and an assist in 15 minutes — forced the Gators to change up their style of play against the Razorbacks, but Florida responded.
“I'm proud of our guys because we've battled this all year long,” Donovan said. “Fatigue becomes a factor as it did today, and we switched doing zone instead of our guys chasing around, but our guys fought through and they battled.”
Donovan isn't sure how long Frazier will be out. He said it could be a week, 10 days or two weeks before Frazier successfully passes the baseline tests and returns to the court.
Florida at full strength has been a rarity this season with Erik Murphy (broken rib), Mike Rosario (ankle), Casey Prather (concussion, ankle), Scottie Wilbekin (suspension), and Yeguete (knee) all missing time at different points in the season.
After the game, Donovan said there has only been three games in which the Gators have had their full complement of players. Although it's actually been seven full games, it's not a surprise that Donovan would feel that way with the rash of injuries.
Now, UF will have to find a way to get some of their younger players some reps in the next two days to get them prepared for a Tuesday night showdown with Tennessee.
The Vols have won five straight and are coming off their 93-85 quadruple-overtime win at Texas A&M on Saturday.
“I just feel like we got to have somebody else step up,” Rosario said. “That's the goal right now. I feel like we've been in this situation a lot. I feel like our young guys are ready, and our teammates are sure that we're going to have to have somebody step up and give us the good majority of minutes that Frazier was getting. We need somebody to really take those and be productive.”
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