Notebook: Yeguete inching back to form

It hasn't been a fun recovery for forward Will Yeguete. After undergoing surgery in the offseason to clean up his knee, the senior hasn't always had the bounce back in his leg during his final season in Gainesville. Florida coach Billy Donovan continues to manage Yeguete, but a little rest before Tuesday's game helped Yeguete have his best game of the season against Georgia.

Donovan saw that Yeguete wasn't the same against Arkansas. He played 28 minutes in Fayetteville, totaling seven points and five rebounds. When the Gators got back to Gainesville and had only two days to prepare for Georgia, Donovan had other plans for the senior forward.

He gave Yeguete the day off on Sunday. He was still in practice to learn the scouting report and how Florida would attack the Bulldogs, but it gave him a day off the knee to regain some of the bounce in it. During a lighter practice on Monday, Yeguete took half of the reps. The Florida coaches wanted him to get his old energy back.

"That helped him physically to get rejuvenated," Billy Donovan said.

It was easy to see how in the first half on Tuesday. Yeguete led the Gators in the first half with 10 points and five rebounds. He was able to explode off the knee, something he struggled with earlier in the season.

"I was feeling pretty good out there in the first half," Will Yeguete said. "I was moving good. It's a process, though. I've spent time in the weight room working on my leg, and it was feeling good today."

His teammates have seen how hard he's working. The knee issues have given Yeguete issues in recent years, but it hasn't dampened his spirit or leadership on a team that starts four seniors. He's always vocal and an important part of the team on the court, just as much as he is off it.

He has the respect of his teammates, and the other Florida players enjoyed his strong Tuesday night just as much as Yeguete did.

"I'm proud of him," Dorian Finney-Smith said. "We need him to be aggressive. He just does all the little things. People don't notice what Will does, but he's a great defender and is always talking. He's a great leader. I love him."

SETTING A RECORD WITH HOME STREAK: The win over Georgia on Tuesday served as Florida's 25th consecutive home win, setting a new school record. It's also the third longest active streak in the country.

Florida's back-to-back national championship teams held the previous record.

"I'm really, really proud of our guys," Donovan said. "That's great. The guys that won that many in a row did some really special things. These guys haven't won national championships, but they've done some special things as well. Any time you can do something for the first time in school history, it's great."

The players have downplayed the importance of the streak in recent weeks, taking to heart what Donovan preaches about focusing only on the next game. On Tuesday, the players had a chance to look back on what it means.

"It means a lot," Yeguete said. "We're doing something special. Especially the seniors, we've been here for a while. I guess you could say we're leaving our mark here."


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