Donovan Expects Young to Play Against LSU

The lack of big men forced Billy Donovan to get creative in the early part of the season. He might be forced to do it more often in the future. Florida center Patric Young is dealing with an ankle injury that allowed him to play 13 minutes at South Carolina on Saturday. Young has improved with rest this week since the Gators don't play until Saturday, but the injury is still concerning Donovan.

Young was held out of practice on Tuesday and expected to sit out again on Wednesday. The Florida staff is trying to give him as much rest as possible during the off week, but there is still concern about his conditioning level. Young's status for Saturday's game when Florida hosts LSU is not in doubt, as Donovan "fully" expects him to play.

"He isn't having any pain that's prohibiting him from walking or needs to be in a boot," Donovan said about Patric Young. "Right now, he's got a lot of inflammation around that area. There's no structural damage or ligament damage. He's just got some pretty significant inflammation in the area that's giving him a problem. There's nothing there that's going to keep him out of games or prevent him from playing."

Young has been dealing with the injury in recent weeks. As the Gators were going through shoot around before Saturday's game in Columbia, S.C., Donovan didn't like what he was seeing from Young. He wasn't able to give his normal effort because of the ankle, and Donovan elected not to start Young.

He did come off the bench and played 13 minutes, recording four points, three rebounds and one block.

"The reason why I didn't start him or play him much against South Carolina was just watching him move around the day of the game," Donovan said. "We need guys out there that are able to give a better effort, and it's not that he doesn't want to give a better effort. It's physically ailing him to where he couldn't give an effort."

His role for Saturday's game is undecided. While Donovan does expect Young to play, he isn't sure if it will be in his normal starting role or coming off the bench. Donovan didn't want to speculate about his role on Wednesday because he wants to give Young as much rest as possible before making his decision.

Young walked into the basketball facility during Wednesday's media session and didn't seem to be favoring the ankle.

"It's something that's just nagging him," Donovan said. "I'm sure he has days where he feels better than others. I would imagine he'll feel as good as he's ever felt the last two weeks as we go into the LSU game because he has had some rest."

At this point, Donovan doesn't expect a situation where Young would need to be shut down for a few weeks. He wants his sophomore center to be smart in his return on Saturday. The Gators will have two conference games per week through the rest of the season, meaning there won't be another week like this for Young to rest.

Florida will stay optimistic about Young's ankle and hope that treatment the day of the game will at least help him come off the bench.

"A lot of times when you're dealing with that injury, when you get into the game and it starts, the adrenaline helps you block that stuff out," Donovan said.

If Young isn't able to produce at the level Donovan expects, the other choices are limited. Will Yeguete moved into the starting lineup in Young's absence and used the opportunity to record 14 points, a career high, and eight rebounds. If Young can't play and Yeguete starts, the Gators have just Cody Larson and 6-6 guard/forward Casey Prather to come off the bench.

"I don't know if we have a whole lot of options with our depth in the frontcourt," Donovan said with a shrug of his shoulders.

Donovan has been happy with the production out of Larson in recent games. He has played just 12 combined minutes in the last two games, but the Florida head coach has continued to gain trust in Larson with Young playing less time.

"I'm gaining more confidence and trust in Cody. I've put him in the last several games, and he has given us good minutes, although they haven't been a lot of minutes. I feel good with him."

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