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Thursday October 3, 2013 Wilbekin to rejoin Gators for start of practice next week

Updated: 5:57pm, October 7

Scottie GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Senior guard Scottie Wilbekin, suspended since June for violating team rules, will rejoin the Florida basketball team for the start of practice next week.

Gators coach Billy Donovan told reporters Wednesday night at a Jimmy V Foundation event in New York that Wilbekin was definitely going to miss some games, but UF’s most seasoned backcourt player and best perimeter defender will be with the squad for the first official practice Oct. 11.

Wilbekin’s suspension was his second in seven months, the previous coming down last November at the start of his junior season. 

“When I allow him to play, that is an unknown right now,” Donovan told earlier this week “But he’s done everything I’ve asked him to do through the summer and now into conditioning. He’s not quite back on our team yet, but right now he’ll be back to start practice.”

Wilbekin averaged 9.7 points on 45.3-percent shooting and 4.9 assists per game last season. 

The Gators will be down in numbers when they take the court next week.

Though junior guard Eli Carter was ruled eligible to play this season by the NCAA, the Rutgers transfer has not be cleared to practice as he remains on the mend from a season-ending broken leg last February.

Senior forward Will Yeguete, who underwent knee surgery during the offseason, also has not been cleared to practice, but the training staff remains optimistic the 6-foot-8, 230-pounder from Bordeaux, France will be ready for the regular season. The Gators will be careful with Yeguete, though, given his injury track record each of the last two seasons.

“Starting the season, the team that’s on paper will not be our team. It’s just not,” Donovan said. “So I think trying to get our guys to come together as a team is the biggest challenge. We’re kind of disconnected right now, so this preseason, these first practices, we have to do some team-building.”

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