Notebook: Point guard options

The timeline for Kasey Hill's return from a high ankle sprain isn't clear. The initial assessment is that he will miss a month, but it could end up being shorter or longer. The point guard issue for Florida is made even more difficult with senior Scottie Wilbekin's suspension. The Gators will have to get creative to find ways to fill the position until Wilbekin returns to the court.

Billy Donovan continues to say the suspension is indefinite, and the only clarity he provided was that Scottie Wilbekin won't be on the floor Thursday when Florida hosts Middle Tennessee. That means the Gators will have to try something different.

There are a few options. Michael Frazier played point guard at Wisconsin when Kasey Hill was in foul trouble, and he played some of the role during the final 18:03 on Monday night when Hill was out. DeVon Walker also took reps on Monday. Practice on Tuesday and Wednesday will be critical for those two to get increased reps and be capable to run the offense against Middle Tennessee, a team that loves to press.

Donovan expects the biggest adjustment to be for Frazier. On Monday, he dribbled the ball up the court on one possession and took an ill-advised three-pointer, causing Donovan to call a timeout and lay into his sophomore guard. Walker has done it more in practice than Frazier.

"Devon Walker has done it some at practice because we knew at some point Kasey Hill was not going to play 40 minutes a game," Donovan said. "DeVon's played back there a little bit and he knows what we're doing. The hardest part for me is it really eliminates a real opportunity to get creative on offense because you really have to shorten up the play calls because, for a guy like DeVon and Michael Frazier to know the 2, and the 3 and the point, their heads would explode."

There could be other options on the roster.

Dorian Finney-Smith returned from suspension on Saturday and could run the point guard position with increased reps in practice. Donovan mentioned a "really, really big" lineup that could feature Finney-Smith at point guard and Casey Prather at shooting guard. He also talked about playing a big lineup with Finney-Smith at power forward and Prather at small forward.

Finney-Smith hasn't practiced much at point guard, as the Gators have tried to ease him into his normal role on the team since his suspension ended.

"We're going to have to do some different things and run some different actions for different situations," Donovan said. "That's going to be a little bit of an adjustment for us."

With rumors that Wilbekin could return when Florida travels to face Jacksonville on Monday, the Gators could only have to deal with the point guard issue for one game, but it's a concern heading into Thursday.

CARTER REDSHIRT POSSIBILITY: Eli Carter would be an option at point guard if he was fully healthy, but it becomes more clear every game that he isn't close to full strength. Carter still runs with a noticeable limp and hasn't had the explosiveness on his leg that he showcased at Rutgers.

Donovan continues to say that the broken leg is fully healed, it's just soreness and stiffness in the leg that Carter is fighting through. The more he battles it, the more the Florida staff considers redshirting him.

"We definitely need him, but not at the expense of burning his year," Donovan said. "That's a real, real hard one for me to swallow as a coach when a guy's playing on one leg. He's probably going to see how much more he can do, but I had him at the point out there. He was out there at half-court. He almost lost the ball like three times. It looked like he couldn't even plant and push off and he looked hobbled. So I feel bad for him.

"Selfishly, could we just use his body for five, six minutes to buy some time? Yes, but I don't think as a junior in college and a kid who's achieved and done what he's done at Rutgers -- I think we owe him the opportunity to get himself fully healthy and play again."

Carter can play five more games this season and still be eligible for a medical redshirt. The final game he can play would be against Kansas on December 10.

GRAHAM TO REDSHIRT: Dillon Graham took point guard reps in practice during the fall, but he was slowed by an ankle injury. Once that healed, Graham dealt with bone spurs in his hip that hampered him on the court.

He recently made the decision with his family to take a medical redshirt this season and get surgery to repair it. Donovan expects a four-month recovery.

"He's got some bone spurs on both hips that I think have gotten pretty painful for him right now," Donovan said. "He's having a very difficult time sleeping. He can't lie on his side. It really was a decision that he decided to make with his family. There are options. That was the option they wanted to take. Whatever we can do to help him in that situation, we will.

"What he's going to end up doing probably in the next week or so is probably get some kind of MRI from the doctors and try to figure it out. I think it's a pretty complicated surgery and it's a very, very long recovery."

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