Parsons Back for Gators' Matchup with Georgia

Billy Donovan isn't sure what he will get out of Chandler Parsons on Thursday night against Georgia. That won't stop the senior forward from giving it a shot. In the second to last home game of his career, Parsons will try to fight through a deep thigh bruise to give the Gators minutes off the bench.

Parsons practiced with the team on Wednesday for the first time since last Friday, the day before the Gators traveled to LSU. Last week's workout didn't go well and the injury began to swell.

He went through drills on Tuesday, and the swelling didn't occur. Reports out of practice on Thursday were positive that Parsons, despite being rusty, would suit up and try to play off the bench against Georgia.

The pain isn't the big issue anymore.

Instead, it is about working into game shape. The injury occurred on February 12 against Tennessee when Parsons collided with Alex Tyus on a rebound.

"The pain is not there," Donovan said. "Timing is a big thing when you haven't played at all. He probably feels a little heavy legged. He probably won't move with the fluidity he had. When he gets into the lane and in traffic, he is a rebounder and must have confidence that he's okay going up. Those are the things I think he'll deal with."

Donovan likened the situation to an ankle injury Al Horford suffered in 2006 before the Gators played host to Ohio State. They weren't sure what Horford would produce on the court, but there was only one way to find out. Donovan threw him on the court to see if he could slow down Greg Oden at all, and he did.

The uncertainty around Parsons' performance is easy to understand, but Donovan will throw him into the game and let the senior test the injury for himself.

When you have a guy who may or may not play, the team may not understand his status. I don't know how he's going to respond, but a guy like Casey Prather can't go back to what his role used to be. Then if Chandler couldn't play or give us minutes, then those guys aren't ready. Our guys coming off the bench have to understand that they must be prepared and ready to play in any situation.

"He feels good about it, but there is some unknown," Donovan said. "If things go well for Chandler, we're going to throw him in there and see what happens. It could be something very positive. He may say that he doesn't feel like himself or can't be productive."

No matter how good Parsons feels, he won't start the game. Freshman small forward Casey Prather is expected to get the nod. Scottie Wilbekin could start and allow the Gators to begin the game with three guards, but Donovan believes that Prather's size is important on defense.

"That's the way I'm leaning because (Travis) Leslie is a bigger forward, and I would think we need some more size," Donovan said. "The same thing could be said against LSU since Turner is 6-5. Even if Chandler has a great practice, I don't anticipate him starting tomorrow. I could start Scottie, but I'm leaning towards going back with Casey."

Leslie comes into the game averaging 14 points per game, while junior forward Trey Thompkins leads the team at 16 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.

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