TUCSON, Ariz. -- Junior guard Scottie Wilbekin has a fractured ring finger on his right hand, but the injury won’t keep him out Saturday night’s ESPN showdown between the No. 5 Florida Gators (7-0) and No. 8 Arizona (7-0) at the McKale Center.
Wilbekin, UF’s best on-ball defender, suffered the injury at practice Thursday while playing defense and reaching to deflect a pass. The broken finger is on his shooting hand, but he’ll wear a splint that binds the middle and ring fingers together.
When trainer David “Duke” Werner examined the finger Thursday and told Wilbekin it was broken, these were the words out of Wilbekin’s mouth:
“I don’t care. I’m playing.”
Wilbekin started UF’s last two games, but he’ll come off the bench against the Wildcats, as the Gators will open with their big lineup of Patric Young at center, Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete at forward, with Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario at the guard spots.
Since being suspended the first three games of the season for violating team rules, Wilbekin is averaging 7.6 points, three rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, and in UF’s last game -- a 72-47 win at Florida State -- he finished with a career-high five steals.
When he’s in the game against Arizona, look for him to be matched in man-to-man defense against point guard Mark Lyons, who’s averaging 13.4 points and 2.6 assists.