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November 18, 2013

Two injuries for the No. 16 Gators



His screams could be heard throughout the O'Connell Center, and for good reason. Freshman point guard Kasey Hill drove the lane Monday night in the second half of a 67-53 win against Southern and rolled his left ankle in gruesome fashion when he landed.

Hill laid under the basket writhing in pain, cringing as trainers pushed on the injured foot and attempted to remove his shoe. He left the floor with help from trainers without putting any pressure on his left foot.

Billy Donovan announced after the game Hill has suffered a high ankle sprain.

"It's one of those sprains where it's certainly a longer healing process and when you try to rush guys back to soon it normally complicates things," Donovan said. "So right now, I think in talking to the doctor and talking to our trainer, the minimum right now is we're looking at a month before we can consider getting him back on the floor."

Before the injury, Hill had been one of the game's brightest stars. He was 4 for 6 from the field with nine points and an array of impressive drives that included a reverse layup on a fast break. He had three assists and one steal to round out his line.

His injury left the O'Connell Center silent.

"It's tough. It's disappointing," sophomore guard DeVon Walker said. "I don't know what happened. You hate to see one of your teammates go down."

Without Hill the Gators (3-1) lack a true point guard. They will definitely not have a traditional point guard for their Thursday night game against Middle Tennessee State. Donovan confirmed suspended senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin will not play against the Blue Raiders.

Florida will have to find some mix of using Walker, sophomore shooting guard Michael Frazier II and possible even forward Dorian Finney-Smith - in an oversized lineup - at point guard. The Gator tried using Eli Carter at point guard briefly Monday but he seems to be headed for a medical redshirt while recovering from a broken leg, and Donovan doesn't want the Hill situation to change that.

"I had him at the point out there. He was out there at half-court. He almost lost the ball like three times. It looked like he couldn't even plant and push off and he looked hobbled. So I feel bad for him," Donovan said. "Selfishly, could we just use his body for five, six minutes to buy some time? Yes, but I don't think as a junior in college and a kid who's achieved and done what he's done at Rutgers, I think we owe him the opportunity to get himself fully healthy and play again."

Hill will likely undergo X-rays Tuesday, per Donovan, to confirm there are no breaks or further injuries to Hill's ankle.

-- OUT FOR THE SEASON --

Sophomore guard Dillon Graham has struggled mightily out of the gates this season, and Donovan had a surprising explanation for it Monday night. Graham is dealing with bone spurs in both of his hips.

"He's having a very difficult time sleeping. He can't lie on his side. Really was a decision that he decided to make with his family," Donovan said. "There are options. That was the option they wanted to take. Whatever we can do to help him in that situation, we will. What he's going to end up doing probably in the next week or so is probably get some kind of MRI from the doctors and try to figure it out. I think it's a pretty complicated surgery and it's a very, very long recovery (four months)."

Graham did not play Monday and will miss the remainder of the season.


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