Injury update

The Gators have managed to fight through the first three game of Southeastern Conference play with an undefeated record, and they're getting closer to full health. No. 7 Florida hits the road this weekend to play at Auburn but remains uncertain how long Casey Prather will be able to play against the Tigers.

Casey Prather was cleared for non-contact drills during Thursday's practice. On Friday, Prather was scheduled to participate in contact drills. The senior forward's response to the contact will determine how much he will be able to play on Saturday against Auburn. He will travel and be available for the game.

"I'm doubtful he's play much, that's my guess," Billy Donovan said before the Gators left on Friday. "Here we are a day away from the game and he's done nothing contact-wise. He'll do some contact today in practice and I'll have a better feel for what he can do after practice."

Prather woke up the morning after Florida's win against South Carolina in the SEC opener and was dealing with knee pain. The Gators did an MRI and found out that the knee was structurally in tact, but there was a significant bone bruise. The bruising has gone down now, allowing him to run and do some drills on Thursday.

Donovan liked how Prather looked on the court in practice, but the team won't know for sure until he takes contact. The most positive news for Florida is that the swelling has gone down. Now comes the waiting game for Prather, and even if he gets on the floor for limited minutes on Saturday, the senior forward is still waiting on the injury to full heal.

His teammates are frustrated, too.

Patric Young is trying to encourage Prather. While going through a breakout season and leading the team with 17 points per game, the senior now isn't able to be on the floor with his teammates in his last season.

"It's really frustrating for him because the guy last year was having a pretty good season but had two concussions and something else some other ailment," Young said. "Now finally, he has the opportunity to come out and show what a great player he is this year and have another setback has gotta be tough on him."

Young is fighting through ailments of his own. The senior center has knee tendinitis that kept him out of the starting lineup against Arkansas. He said his knees feel fine and he will play on Saturday, but the issue in Donovan's mind isn't the physical injury.

He wants Young to communicate better. Instead of updating the coaches and trainers of how his knees feel every day, Young can sometimes keep it quiet and fight through it.

"He's got to do a better job communicating what he's feeling, what he's experiencing at a given time," Donovan said.


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