At some point this season, Florida coach Billy Donovan hopes to experiment with a lineup that includes both Scottie Wilbekin and Kasey Hill.
For now, however, he'll have to play without either.
With Wilbekin still suspended and unlikely to return for at least one more game, Florida lost Hill for about a month Monday night as a result of what has initially been diagnosed as a high left ankle sprain. Donovan said the McDonald's All-American will undergo X-rays to make sure he didn't suffer any fractures or ligament damage when he rolled his ankle at close to a 90 degree angle on a drive to the basket in the second half of Florida's victory over Southern.
Hill's injury may sideline him for all of the toughest stretch of Florida's schedule when the Gators face Florida State, UConn, Kansas and Memphis from Nov. 29 to Dec. 17. Until Wilbekin is reinstated, Florida will turn to sharpshooter Michael Frazier as its main point guard, a dicey solution since the wing lacks either the lateral quickness on defense or the distributing ability on offense to be effective at point guard.
What has to be especially frustrating for Florida about Hill's injury is the Gators already have endured more roster attrition than any other elite team in the nation this season.
McDonald's All-American forward Chris Walker can't play until at least the end of fall semester as a result of academic issues. Center Damontre Harris is not practicing with the team right now and is in jeopardy of not being allowed to return from suspension all season. And in the backcourt, Wilbekin is still suspended indefinitely, freshman Dillon Graham because of bone spurs in his hips and Rutgers transfer Eli Carter still is not close to his former self thanks to complications in his recovery from a broken leg.
The timing of Hill's ankle sprain is especially cruel because he had been playing well in Wilbekin's absence aside from a rough shooting night at Wisconsin. He averaged 11.3 points per game entering Monday night and he his assist-to-turnover ratio was a gaudy 3.5-to-1.
The only silver lining to all the injuries and suspensions for Florida is the Gators are one of the few teams capable of overcoming them.
With Patric Young, Will Yeguete and the newly reinstated Dorian Finney-Smith manning the frontcourt and Frazier, Casey Prather and Devon Walker at the wings, the Gators still have a pretty strong rotation. All they really need is for either Wilbekin or Hill -- or both -- to return as soon as possible to solidify the point guard position.
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