The Gators found out that they will be without the services of junior forward Will Yeguete for the remainer of the regular season.
Yeguete is currently the second leading rebounder for Florida, averaging 6.3 rebounds per game. Just as important is Yeguete’s athleticism, court energy and his ability to press in the full court.
This front line injury will force Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan to make some adjustments. Donovan will have to go with either a four guard attack in his pick and roll offense or turn to junior forward Casey Prather, who himself is still fighting a nagging ankle injury.
Donovan has acknowledged that there is a lack of overall frontcourt depth just because of sheer numbers, admitting that last year they had more forwards to choose from.
The good news for the Gators is that they face a relatively easy part of their schedule in the upcoming weeks. Florida faces only one nationally ranked team, the No. 21 Missouri Tigers, who they handled with ease, 83-52, in Gainesville, Fl.
The bad news for the Gators also have to play nine more games before the SEC conference tournament begins and two of their remaining regular season games are against the currently unranked and on the rise, Kentucky Wildcats and freshman sensation Nerlens Noel.
Although the Gators can get through the schedule without too much of a problem, the bigger issue is that Patric Young and Erik Murphy will have to absorb more of the minutes that Yeguete was responsible for. This may overextend Young and Murphy for the stretch run later in the year.
Of course, what if someone else gets injured? Murphy had a rib injury just a few weeks ago that he played through and who is to say who else may be banged up or get hurt.
For the short term, the Florida Gators will be fine because they are talented and have put themselves in a great position with their play during the season.
However, for the long term and to be in serious contention for the NCAA Championship, the Gators need Yeguete to get back soon.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo