Scott Carter’s Blog Carter’s Corner
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Senior forward Casey Prather has a bruised bone in his right knee and will be sidelined Saturday when the 10th-ranked Florida Gators (12-2, 1-0) play at Arkansas (11-3, 0-1) in their Southeastern Conference road opener.
Prather, who leads UF in scoring at 17 points per game and whose field-goal percentage of 62.4 tops the SEC, does not know when he injured the knee. He was fine coming out of Wednesday night’s home win against South Carolina, but woke up Thursday morning with swelling in the knee.
“It definitely could have been worse,” Coach Billy Donovan said.
In more ways than one.
Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who suffered a right ankle sprain late against the Gamecocks, was limited to shooting-only Friday, but has not been ruled for the Razorbacks, who have won 25 straight games at home. That run is tied with Duke for the second-longest active streak in the nation.
Wilbekin figures to be a game-time decision.
Regarding Prather, the UF health staff was concerned about significant damage to his knee, but magnetic resonance imaging Thursday night revealed only a bruise. That was good news for the Gators and great news or Prather, who could be back next week.
In the interim, Florida will have to tweak its lineup. Again.
“It’s not like we haven’t dealt with this before,” Donovan said.
The Gators could replace Prather with sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith (9.9 points, 7.3 rebounds per game) or go with freshman Kasey Hill (7.3 points, 3.2 assists) and a three-guard lineup, assuming Wilbekin is cleared.
If Wilbekin can’t go, then nothing is off the table as far the rotation goes.
Whatever combination Donovan chooses, UF will roll out its sixth different starting lineup of the season and do it at Bud Walton Arena. The Gators were ranked No. 2 in the nation and unbeaten through seven SEC games when they went to Fayetteville last year and were massacred 80-69 and fell behind by 26 in the first half.