Murphy in doubt for Florida State

Murphy in doubt for Florida State

The injury looked like a non-issue when it happened. Erik Murphy went for a block in the second half of Thursday's game against Marquette but came down holding his hip. The senior forward went to the locker room but returned to spend the rest of the game on the bench with his team. However, Murphy hasn't returned to practice since the injury and could miss Wednesday's game at Florida State.

"I don't know what's going to happen with the starting lineup," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said before Monday's practice. "I really don't."

Erik Murphy wasn't expected to practice on Monday, and there was doubt about whether or not he would practice on Tuesday. Murphy is second on the team with 12.3 points per game and tied for third with 4.2 rebounds.

The hip pointer, which Donovan called pretty severe, could keep Murphy out of Wednesday's game at Florida State.

"He's sore," Florida forward Will Yeguete said. "He doesn't know what to do about it. He's got to let his body heal and keep stretching and doing treatments."

It's another issue the Gators have been forced to deal with early in the season. Without Casey Prather because of multiple concussions and Scottie Wilbekin because of suspension early in the season, the Gators had to learn to play without their full roster.

"What has been great about our team so far is that we've played with guys out, such as Scottie and Casey," Mike Rosario said. "This is a major key right now with us not having Murph. Will can give us good minutes at that spot. Everyone is prepared. We went without a couple guys during the season, so now, we just know how to do it."

PRATHER EMERGING: If Murphy is out on Wednesday, the Gators will be forced to throw junior Casey Prather on the court at power forward for more minutes than usual. In his first two games back after missing the first four because of two preseason concussions, Prather has proven capable of handling extended time.

His athleticism makes him tough for opponents to match up with, whether he's playing small forward or power forward.

"The biggest thing with him is that his conditioning is behind," Donovan said. "To his credit, he's trying to push through that and get better. You can see that he's winded, just because he has missed a lot. It's great to have him back in practice with his energy and athleticism."

The important part for Prather is his confidence. During his first two seasons in Gainesville, reports out of practice were awestruck with his ability. He has the athleticism and leaping ability to create the highlight dunk, but he can also step outside and hit three-pointers.

With his strong close to last season, Prather has translated his confidence to the first two games this year.

"He was going into the offseason where he had an opportunity to feel good in how he was playing at the end of last year," Donovan said. "It was something for him to build on. Because he has done it in games and against good teams to where now there's an internal belief that he has done it and can do it. I've got confidence in him."

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