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Friday November 25, 2011Gators Hope for Positive News on Murphy and Prather

By Chris Harry
GatorZone.com Contributing Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Starting forward Erik Murphy has a knee injury that kept him out of Friday night’s victory over Jacksonville.

And Murphy isn’t the only Gator hurting. 

Backup sophomore swingman Casey Prather aggravated a groin injury during UF’s 107-62 defeat of the Dolphins at the O’Connell Center and was held out of the game in the second half. 

“We’re not really sure what happened or how long they'll be out,” junior guard Kenny Boynton said. “Hopefully, they’ll be back with us soon.” 

Both players’ status will be determined over the weekend after further evaluations from the UF medical staff, Gators coach Billy Donovan said. 

Murphy limped off the practice court Thursday, only to return to finish the workout. But while at Donovan’s house for Thanksgiving dinner later in the day, Murphy’s knee swelled up and the 6-foot-11 junior from South Kingstown, R.I., had to be taken to the hospital and missed Friday night’s 107-62 win over Jacksonville. 

Sophomore Will Yeguete replaced Murphy in the first unit and finished with eight points and nine rebounds in the first start of his career. How long Yeguete will be there remains to be seen. 

“I should know something late [Saturday], as he goes through the process,” Donovan said of Murphy, who was averaging 10 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from 3-point range. “I just know there’s some concern right now because he’s had a very difficult time walking and putting pressure on it.” 

UF’s trainers, though, do not believe the injury was related to the anterior cruciate ligament or consider it season-ending. Murphy watched the game from the UF bench, clutching his crutches. 

He soon had company in Prather, the 6-6 guard/forward from Jackson, Tenn. 

Though he had some soreness before the game, Prather worked through it during pre-game shoot-around, then turned in some of the best minutes of his career (6 points, 2-of-3 from the floor, 3 rebounds, two trips to the free-throw line) before tweaking the groin and going to the bench for the rest of the game. 

“How he played in the first half was exactly how he had been practicing ... He was really starting to put it together athletically,” Donovan said. “How severe? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s too bad, but was enough to keep him out in the second half.”

Florida (4-1) next plays Monday night against Stetson at the Amway Center in Orlando.

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