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In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
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Lockout now in the rear view mirror, former Gators center Vernon Macklin, a 2011 second-round pick, is now signed with the Detroit Pistons and has already joined the team for workouts. But Macklin was not taking it easy over the last few months; instead he was working out with some big NBA names like Kevin Durant, Metta World Peace, Al Horford and Joakim Noah both on the west coast and in Gainesville, FL. "It's been good working out with people from around the league," he told The Detroit News. "I had a good time out there, I learned a lot and got to sit and watch those guys work on their games." Macklin will play a reserve role this season in hopes that he can earn big-time minutes as the year wears on. With so many games in consecutive days, the not-so-deep Pistons will need all the help they can get in the frontcourt.
It may not seem that way while watching the games, but Florida is a pretty good free throw shooting team - in practice. According to a source close to the team, head coach Billy Donovan and the players who say they hit their attempts on the practice court are being completely truthful. Donovan, who is truly perturbed by the lack of focus on the line during games, has tried a number of techniques over the last two years to improve his team's free throw shooting. Because senior point guard Erving Walker and junior guard Kenny Boynton always seem to improve as the season goes on and Donovan is confident that freshman G Bradley Beal won't have trouble either, Donovan is concentrating on improving the strokes of sophomores C Patric Young and forward Will Yeguete
Now healed from a rib injury bothering him most of the season, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is playing some of the best football of his NFL career. Just last week, he posted a career-high 156 receiving yards along with two touchdowns against the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, Harvin almost didn't play in the game after suffering "migraine-like symptoms" one day earlier, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "The symptoms were similar to Harvin's past struggles with migraines, according to the unnamed person, including bloodshot eyes and vomiting," the paper reported. Harvin had been without migraines all year after believing doctors found a way of preventing them in the offseason. If he did indeed suffer a migraine, Harvin may go through even more tests this offseason to try and find another solution.
Instead of falling early like the much-hyped 2010 Gators volleyball team did, the 2011 version is making a name for itself in this year's NCAA Tournament, sweeping Michigan 3-0 Friday evening on the way to the Elite Eight. Florida will take on No. 3 Illinois Saturday at 7 p.m. (ESPNU) for a chance to earn a berth to Final Four. Despite being unranked, the Gators will have home field advantage as they are hosting the Gainesville Regional at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Now that he is starting to get his strength back and recovery is progressing slowly, former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel has been providing updates on his condition more often. On Wednesday, Wuerffel explained that he is in a tough season of his life right now. "It's Winter for this Wuerffel," he said. "I'm like the Indianapolis Colts (not far removed from the joys of a Super Bowl...but 0-12 this year." Nevertheless, he remains hopeful that the worst is behind him. "I trust a new season is on the way. God will bring me Spring when He is ready. He just wants to meet me in the Winter right now." Wuerffel recently took a family trip to Virginia and has begun getting involved in his ministry again. He has been battling Guillain-Barre syndrome (a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves) for six months.
Gators redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturgis, though not the recipient of the 2011 Lou Groza Award, was named a Walter Camp All-American on Thursday. Sturgis earned second team honors by the organization and is the second Florida player in as many years (punter Chas Henry) to be recognized with a Walter Camp All-American honor. He finished the regular season third in the nation with 1.9 field goals per game, went 21-for-25 on field goal tries and hit all 28 extra points he attempted. He is fourth in school history with 228 points while wearing the orange and blue.