A few weeks ago, Florida senior forward Casey Prather was named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list, an honor bestowed on only 25 college basketball players in the country.
But the 6-foot-6 Prather has been slowed by a mild ankle sprain suffered Jan. 30 at Mississippi State. Prather has tried to play through it, but admitted Friday he still wasn’t 100 percent. Florida coach Billy Donovan said Prather has been in-and-out of practice this week, but expects him to play Saturday against Alabama.
Asked if he had the same lift since before the injury, the high-flying Prather said: “Not quite, not quite yet. I’m still just working on trying to do treatment, icing, getting game ready stuff like that just to get back 100-percent.”
Prather had his string on 18 straight double-figure scoring games snapped when he scored just 7 points last Saturday against Texas A&M. On Tuesday night against Missouri, Prather had just 5 points on 2 of 4 shooting from the floor.
Donovan was more troubled that Prather missed three defensive assignments in the first half. The veteran coach said he thinks the injury has affected Prather mentally because so much of his game relies on his athleticism.
“Everybody handles injuries a little bit differently,” Donovan said. “And I think for him, he handles it differently from the standpoint of I think he sometimes mentally gets consumed with it. It almost becomes something that gets in the way mentally for him.
“I didn’t think mentally in the game against Missouri he was in a real good place. He, defensively, gave up three straight 3-point shots. Thank God they only made one of three. And he wasn’t there mentally like he needed to be, and I think maybe some of that had to do with the injury.”