There may not be a team in the country that is further from being at full strength than Florida is.
Let’s run down the list, shall we?
Will Yeguete is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and has yet to be cleared for practice. Eli Carter, who transferred into the program from Rutgers, isn’t yet available for practice as he is recovering from this gruesome broken leg he suffered back in February. Damontre Harris is dealing with a hamstring issue. The most-heralded freshman in Billy Donovan’s recruiting class won’t be available until at least December, if at all, due to academic issues that he’s had in the past. And Scottie Wilbekin was only recently allowed to return to practice after being suspended indefinitely from the team over the summer. He may miss a few games early in the season.
Those are a lot of bodies to be laid up at one time, and it got even worse this week.
Michael Frazier II is currently out with a virus which has prevented him from practicing, but the Florida staff is apparently concerned that this could end up being mono.
“The only thing we’re worried about is does he have mono, that’s the biggest fear,” Donovan told Kevin Brockway during SEC media days in Birmingham, Ala. “And if he does, that’s a three-week to a month, him being out of competition, out of playing, out of everything. I don’t know that to be the case. Apparently you can have a false positive test … as of right now he just has a virus that’s prevented him from practicing.”
Losing Frazier would be a major loss for a team that is only practicing with seven scholarship players and two walk-ons. Mono is the kind of virus that can knock you out of shape really quick, and Frazier is an important piece to this team, Florida’s resident sharpshooter that was impressive enough this summer to earn a spot on the U19 national team.
The start of practice is important for college teams, especially ones that are bringing in so many new faces and have so many players headed for bigger roles. They learn the system, they learn how to play with their teammates and they learn what their job will be on either end of the floor.
This is a headache that I’m sure Billy Donovan didn’t want to deal with.