Finney-Smith producing through pain

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Florida junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith was asked how he felt physically following Monday night’s 85-47 win over Yale.

Finney-Smith has been playing through a broken left hand he suffered in UF’s regular season opener on Nov. 14 against William & Mary.

“I’m playing so there ain’t no excuses,” Finney-Smith said. “It’s not as strong as my right, right now, but I just got to keep getting better.”

After sitting out two games against Miami and Louisiana-Monroe, Finney-Smith has dealt with the pain of two fractures in his fingers that have yet to fully heal. The 6-foot-8 Virginia Tech transfer, coming off a 14-point, 5-rebound effort against Yale, has averaged 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in the five games he’s played through the injury. In those five games, Finney-Smith has worn a brace on his left hand for protection.

Florida coach Billy Donovan said Finney-Smith has wanted to practice every day, but said that UF’s training staff has taken a cautious approach with his workload between games.

“The biggest thing that takes a toll on his hand is the constant catching the basketball, pounding the basketball, passing the basketball, all that stuff,” Donovan said. “But they will X-ray him again to see the kind of healing process. He is feeling better. He feels like he’s getting better. I think there’s some hope that maybe next week they can take the brace off. If not next week, then maybe after the holidays they can do that.”

Donovan said the injury has had the biggest impact on Finney-Smith’s rebounding. Last season, Finney-Smith averaged a team-high 6.7 rebounds, helping him earn SEC sixth man of the year honors. So far this season,  Finney-Smith is below his career average at 4.7 rebounds per game.

“Trying to protect himself, trying not to put his hand up in harms way, he’s almost become a one-armed rebounder because I think he’s keeping his other arm (in) so he’s not moving as well,” Donovan said. “He’s not getting position as well. A lot of the positioning you do get is with your hands and your feel and moving and sliding. You get banged a lot. Your hands get banged a lot. So for him, that’s uncomfortable. I think that’s why his rebounding numbers have been down.”