Gators gymnastics: Jenny Rowland offers update on Trinity Thomas with nationals next week

Ainslie Lee
The Gainesville Sun

The second-ranked Florida Gators gymnastics team is six days removed from seeing its leading all-arounder go down with an injury and just a week out from competing for a national championship − a recipe no one likes.

On March 31 at the Pittsburgh regional, Florida fifth-year senior and the NCAA's reigning all-around champion Trinity Thomas abruptly ended her floor routine after suffering a lower-leg injury.

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While Thomas' status was listed as day-to-day following the meet, she didn't compete in Sunday's region final, which saw the Gators take second place behind California. Fortunately for Florida, the top two teams from each regional advance to the NCAA Championships.

"I know that meet was for Trin," Florida head coach Jenny Rowland said of the Gators' region final performance. "For all she's done for this team, they truly are committed to each other and wanted to show her how much she means to them and in turn, that was just a celebration on her behalf."

With an opportunity for the Gators to capture their first national championship since 2015 next week, when Rowland met with media members Thursday, the elephant in the room was whether or not Rowland expected Thomas to be available for Florida's championship appearance.

"The obvious question's answer ... she's definitely getting better," Rowland said. "It is still a day-to-day basis and we're just doing what we can to protect her to get her healthy and we'll see if she's in a position to go forward."

Thomas has been "living" in treatment and rehab and has been visiting the team's acupuncturists, Rowland says.

It also sounds like Florida's No. 1 gymnast is in high spirits despite the setback.

"Honestly, surprisingly, she's doing really well," Rowland said. "She's really focused on doing what she can control right now. ... She's been in the gym, always a smile on her face, helping and supporting the team and always doing what she can."

Additional specifics regarding Thomas' injury weren't provided. However, Rowland did mention that Thomas is able to walk around and has been spending time in and out of a walking boot as the Gators' athletic training staff has been working to find the proper balance between maintaining mobility and alleviating pain.

The No. 2 Gators are set to take the floor of Fort Worth's Dickies Arena on April 13 at 3 p.m. for NCAA Semifinal I, where they will be competing against California, Denver and LSU.

When that happens, will Thomas compete?

"I'm always optimistic," Rowland said. "I'm always that person that looks at the glass half-full. So we'll see."