GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The X-rays were negative, which was good news for Casey Prather.
He certainly was due some of that.
As the Florida junior forward limped from the locker room to his team’s bench in the second half of the 11th-ranked Gators 74-52 road defeat of LSU, teammate/classmate/close friend Patric Young broke from the huddle during a timeout. Young sat down next to Prather, put his arm around his buddy and together they took a moment to pray for a quick recovery.
“I’m just thankful it wasn’t that bad,” Prather said Saturday night after suffering what trainers believed to be a high sprain of the left ankle. “I want to get back as soon as I can.”
The 6-foot-6 Prather was playing the best basketball of his career over the last few games when he scored off an offensive rebound and injured the ankle coming down to the floor late in the first half. Prather had six points (on 3-for-5 shooting) and two rebounds to that point, having started his second straight game.
While being examined on the bench, UF feared Prather may have broken a bone, but at least the news wasn’t that bad.
“He’s had a pretty tough year so far,” Young said of Prather, who missed the first five games of the season after suffering two concussions over a nine days in the preseason. “I just hope he can bounce back from this quickly.”
The Gators already were down one starter, with senior guard Mike Rosario hobbled by an ankle sprain suffered in the second half Wednesday against Georgia. Prather started that game because of Erik Murphy’s broken rib, then Saturday because of Rosario did not suit up because of his ankle.
More thna likely, another shakeup in the starting lineup, that's what. More on that below.
“We’ll see what happens with these guys this week,” Coach Billy Donovan said.
Florida will take both Sunday and Monday off from practice and return Tuesday to prep for the toughest two-game stretch of the season.
The Gators (12-2, 2-0) go to Texas A&M (12-3, 2-0) Thursday night. All the Aggies did over the weekend was blast Kentucky 83-71 at Rupp Arena behind 40 points from guard Elston Turner. A home date with 10th-ranked Missouri (12-3, 1-1) follows on Saturday The Tigers are coming off a loss at Ole Miss.
For UF, that’s two games against two very good teams in less than 48 hours -- and with the status of two players, Rosario and Prather, uncertain.
“That’s adversity for you,” Young said. “We’ve definitely had our share of it this year.”
Maybe a few more prayers are warranted.
REVOLVING DOOR STARTING LINEUP
Here’s a breakdown of UF’s six different starting lineups this season, a shell game that includes five combinations over the previous eight games. If Rosario and Prather are out, the Gators are guaranteed to start a seventh combo -- and sixth in nine games -- at A&M.
Alabama State-Win; Wisconsin-W; vs. Middle Tennessee State-W; Savannah State-W; UCF-W; at Arizona-Loss; Southeastern Louisiana-W
at Florida State-W; at Yale-W
at Kansas State-L; vs Air Force-W
EX-GATOR OF THE WEEK
For the second straight week, gotta go with Washington rookie guard Bradley Beal, who hit an up-and-under game-winner with three-tenths of a second left to beat the reigning NBA West champion Oklahoma Thunder Monday then Saturday night got to play his first game with former No. 1 overall pick John Wall. Wall, after missing the season’s first 32 games with a knee injury, joined forces with Beal (16 points) to fashion an upset of Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks for the Wizards’ first two-game winning streak of the season.
Kenny Boynton started the season as the No. 8 scorer in school history with 1,589 points, but has now climbed to No. 3, passing both Erving Walker and Udonis Haslem with his 20-point effort at LSU. “It means a lot, especially to pass Erv, a guy I hung out with everyday when he was here,” Boynton said after Saturday’s win. “It means more that we got the win.” Some Twitter followers wanted to know who’s left on the list, so here’s a list of UF’s all-time top 10 scorers. Boynton, the senior from Boca Raton, Fla., needs 309 points to pass former forward Ronnie Williams at No. 1, which means an average of 18.2 over the team’s final 18 guaranteed games. That number, of course, would drop depending on how many games the Gators play in the postseason.
Rank Player Years Points
1 Ronnie Williams 1981-84 2,090
2 Andrew Moten 1984-87 1,930
3 Kenny Boynton 2010-present 1,782
4 Udonis Haslem 1999-2002 1,781
5 Erving Walker 2009-12 1,777
6 Stacey Poole 1989-93 1,678
7 Dwayne Schintzius 1987-90 1,624
8 Neal Walk 1967-69 1,600
9 Gene Shy 1973-76 1,573
10 Matt Bonner 2000-03 1,570
After Boynton, which active UF player has the most career points?
Boynton was profiled in The Baton Rouge Advocate on game day. Nice headline (although some may agree with it, given KB's, um, willingness to let it fly at times). Give him credit, though. The same day that headline ran, Boynton had one of his more efficient overall games of the season. He went 7-for-13 from the floor, including 4-for-8 from the arc and also had seven rebounds (three on the offensive end) and two assists in 35 grueling, up-tempo minutes.
Saturday was a nice RPI day for the Gators. Marquette went to Pittsburgh and won to improve to 3-0 in the Big East, while Wisconsin blasted Illinois by 22 points. Those wins didn't look so good a couple weeks ago. Now they're looking better. ... UF’s game against Kansas State, played in Kansas City, Mo., was originally classified as a neutral-site game, but that’s been changed. It’s now an official road game (and loss) because K-State controlled the ticket distribution. ... Some coincidence regarding Prather and his two starts this season. They came Wednesday at home against Georgia and Saturday at LSU. The only two previous starts of his career came during his 2010-11 freshman season -- at home against Georgia and at LSU. ... Trivia answer: the current Gator with the most points is Murphy with 768, followed by Young with 681. Murphy, who is averaging 12 points per game, has a shot to be the 49th player to join UF’s 1,000-point club.