Notebook: Carter likely to redshirt

Playing Eli Carter was always viewed as an experiment this season. The experiment is coming to an end. The Rutgers transfer gained immediate eligibility this season, but while nursing leg issues after breaking his leg last season, Carter is still not close to 100 percent. The guard appears headed for a redshirt to avoid wasting one season of eligibility this year.

"He's very frustrated, not in terms of his role, but just that he's not healthy," Billy Donovan said. "This has been an injury that's going on for a long period of time. I know he'd like to contribute. He was a very good guard at Rutgers and did some very good things over his career. It's a humbling experience for him."

NCAA rules allow Eli Carter to play against Connecticut on Monday and against Kansas on December 10. If he plays any games after that, he is no longer eligible for a medical redshirt.

The redshirt seems likely at this point in the season since Carter is only able to play 7.6 minutes per game. The leg is also impacting his play when he is on the floor. Carter, known as a scorer in his time at Rutgers, is 1-14 from the field this season and 0-2 from the free throw line.

"He's just trying to see if he can get better," Donovan said. "The hard, frustrating part is he's hit a stalemate in his recovery where he's not making the same level of progress he was making a year ago. It's slowed for him."

Donovan has raved about coaching Carter since he came to campus in Gainesville. He loves the junior's basketball IQ and intelligence on the court, but the thought of putting him in a difficult situation this season is too much for Donovan to consider. He wants to have two more years with Carter in the program, and the medical redshirt is the only way to make sure that happens.

It also gives Carter an extended time to get the leg fully healed. He's dealing with strength and structural issues -- mostly in his ankle -- as well as scar tissue building up. The issues aren't getting better, which is a big reason why Donovan said he will probably end up being redshirted.

"I'm putting him in a very bad situation. He's not really able to play. He's hobbled. He's not the same," Donovan said. "The guy is hurt right now. It's very difficult on him. He has major problems inside his ankle. He's a great kid. I respect him an awful lot for how he's handled himself."

WALKER NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY: DeVon Walker suffered a mid-foot sprain on Monday against Jacksonville and was held out against Florida State. He went through shoot around before playing the Seminoles but was a last minute decision to be held out. There's a chance that he could get on the floor against Connecticut on Monday, but it isn't likely.

"I'm not planning on him playing right now, but that's not to say he couldn't," Donovan said. "He hasn't practiced in a while now. If he is able to go, we may throw him in there to give some guys a blow.

"The one area we lack depth is in the backcourt. With that being said, we're going against one of the premier backcourts in the country."

MANAGING WILBEKIN MINUTES: Scottie Wilbekin is only two games back from his suspension, but he has played 72 of a possible 80 minutes in those games. While Kasey Hill continues to sit with a high ankle sprain, Wilbekin is the only point guard on the roster.

"He's playing way too many minutes," Donovan said. "The ball is in his hands way too much. There's way too much on his shoulders. It's unfair to him, but that's what we have right now. We have to come up with ways to rest him more."

Donovan thought Wilbekin was too aggressive against Florida State. He was able to get into the paint at will but took too many off balanced shots. The Florida coaching staff showed him multiple passes to the perimeter that he missed while in the paint, hoping to improve it moving forward.

"Anytime you have a player that can get in the lane, it always puts pressure on the defense," Donovan said. "But you have to be able to make good decisions."

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