Fla. -- His big body was plopped on a table in the basketball training room,
his right ankle getting treatment while his fingers tapped away on tiny video game.
feel great,” Florida center Patric Young said. “Just happy to be here.”
accurate statement by Young would have been he was happy to have been there,
as in taking part in a 2 1/2-hour practice Thursday -- which he did,
practically full go -- as the No. 17 Gators (14-4, 2-1) readied for Saturday’s
Southeastern Conference showdown against LSU (12-6, 2-2) at the O’Connell
the 6-foot-9, 247-pound enforcer, has been battling a sprained ankle for nearly
two weeks. He played just 13 minutes in last weekend’s win at South Carolina,
the team’s first road victory this season, and everyone from Coach Billy
Donovan down hoped Young could use the club’s bye week to rest, refresh, rehab
and be ready to run and ransack the league down the SEC home stretch.
better,” Donovan said after Thursday’s practice. “He’ll play against LSU. I
just can’t tell you how much.”
is not expected to start against the Tigers, but rather give way to 6-7
sophomore Will Yeguete, who was terrific (career-high 14 points and eight
rebounds) in stepping in against the Gamecocks at the forward spot, with 6-10
Erik Murphy moving to center. Young's minutes will be determined as much by
what Donovan sees from his movement and body language during the morning
was encouraged by neither of those things at the shoot-around in Columbia,
S.C., which was why Yeguete got the start. Still, Young likely would have
logged more minutes had he not picked up two fouls in the first half. He scored
four points in the game, making both field-goal attempts. They were easy (and
violent) ones, too: a pair of slam-dunks on beautiful penetration lob passes
from Erving Walker.
it was hurting the worst, I really couldn’t jump off two feet,” Young said.
“But if you saw just those two plays [against South Carolina], you never would
have thought I was in pain at all.”
he was, still is and chances are he will be the rest of the season. That’s
something UF trainer Dave “Duke” Werner thinks Young needs to wrap his arms
around sooner rather than later.
a discomfort that he’s going to need to play through,” Werner said. “Might as
well get used to it.”
played through it for the better part of his first full practice Thursday -- a
pretty physical one, too -- after which he said it was the best he had felt
since the ankle first started troubling him earlier this month. At one point in
the practice, as he was cutting through the lane on offense, Young stumble and
came up limping.
wasn’t bothering me much at all ... until Murphy stepped on my foot,” Young
said with a grin.
would be forward Erik Murphy, whose right eye was on the receiving end of a
Young elbow two weeks ago. The blow required six stitches.
just happened to be getting treatment on his leg two tables over from Young
when the Gator with with the buff bod and infamous flying bows dared to call
Murphy said. “Is he serious?”
wasn't. Kind of.
all seriousness, the Gators will need Young to play hurt against an LSU squad
armed with 7-foot, 260-pound center Justin Hamilton, a junior who sat out last
season after transferring from Iowa State. Hamilton is averaging 13.3 points
and 7.5 rebounds.
wouldn’t say he moves really well or that he’s got really good feet, but
offensively, he’s very skilled,” Young said. “I’m actually kind of surprised
[LSU is] not playing better. They have all the tools.”
Gators need their biggest and best low-post tool (not to mention their leading
rebounder) back and zeroed in as soon as possible. In the meantime, Donovan was
pleased with the enthusiasm Young displayed for his teammates from the bench at
one thing I admired and respected was how he was involved in the game and
involved with our team emotionally in the first half and really helped those
guys,” Donovan said. “He was that way the whole entire game, then made some
plays in the second half that helped our team.”
Young: “There are different ways you can affect the game, even when you’re not
playing. You can be a vocal and encouraging presence for your teammates.”
the same, the Gators prefer the Patric Young who is a vicious and discouraging
presence for the opponent.
Louisiana State at No.
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
(O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Fla.)
Records: Florida 14-4,
2-1; LSU 12-6, 2-2
TV: FSN (w/Dave Neal and
Radio: Gator IMG Sports
Network (w/Mick Hubert and Mark Wise) --
Click here for affiliates) / Sirius 220/XM 199
Game notes: Florida
Need to know: The game will mark the
100th meeting between the two schools, a series that dates to 1947. LSU leads
the series 60-39, but UF is 10-8 under Coach Billy Donovan, with a two-game
winning streak. ... The Gators have been off since Saturday night’s 79-65
victory at South Carolina that marked UF’s first road win in five tries this
season. The Tigers defeated Auburn 65-58 Tuesday night, after losing two
straight in league play at Alabama and Arkansas. ... LSU lost to Coastal
Carolina, Northwestern and South Alabama in its first six games, but then put
together a seven-game winning streak that included wins at Rutgers (where the
Gators lost last month) and an upset of then-No. 10 Marquette. ... All five regular
UF starters average in double-figures, led by junior G Kenny Boynton (18.7 ppg,
3.1 apg), who ranks second in the SEC in both scoring and 3-point shooting
percentage (45.8). Freshman G Bradley Beal (14.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and senior PG
Erving Walker (12.9 ppg, 5 apg) join Boynton to make up the most explosive
backcourt in the league. Sophomore Will Yeguete (5.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is expected
to start at the forward position for Patric Young (ankle), who will play. ...
LSU also starts a three-guard rotation, but boasts 7-foot, 260-pound C Justin
Hamilton (13.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) in the post. PG Anthony Hickey (9.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
is one of the finest on-ball perimeter defenders in the league, one of the
reasons the Tigers rank second in the SEC in steals (8 per game), have held 12
opponents to under 60 points this season (they’re 11-1 in those games) and and
allowing just 39-percent shooting from the field and 31 from the 3-point line.
... LSU is coached by Trent Johnson, who is 61-55 in his four seasons since
coming from Stanford in 2008