Florida basketball: Forward C.J. Felder back with the Gators after seven-game absence

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Florida Gators forward C.J. Felder (1) drives to the basket during the Orange & Blue Scrimmage at Billy Donovan Court at Exactech Arena in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Florida Gators forward C.J. Felder is back with the team after a seven-game absence for personal reasons, head coach Todd Golden announced on Tuesday.

Felder practiced with the Gators on Tuesday and will travel with the team and suit up when the Gators play at No. 3 Alabama on Wednesday (9 p.m., ESPN2).

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Though Tuesday was Felder's first full practice since leaving the Gators on Jan. 10, teammate Kyle Lofton said he's been working out on his own in UF's basketball facility during that span, lifting weights and playing one-on-one basketball.

"Definitely helpful, seeing him in the locker room right now, with a smile on his face," Lofton said. "It definitely lifts up all of us. He's definitely a guy we need."

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Felder will add another physical presence to Florida's frontcourt rotation. The Gators have been burned badly on the offensive boards in their last two games, surrendering 18 offensive rebounds against Tennessee and 13 offensive rebounds against Kentucky. Forward Alex Fudge has been playing off the bench and is still trying to round back into form after suffering a head injury during Florida's 61-59 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 21.

Felder, a transfer from Boston College, appeared in 14 games with 8 starts before leaving the Gators in January, averaging 2.5 points and 3.1 rebounds.