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December 03, 2013

HOOPS: Wilbekin sidelined indefinitely

GAINESVILLE -- Something is seriously in the water in Gainesville.

No. 15 Florida lost a heartbreaker 65-64 to No. 12 Connecticut on the road Monday night, but another late-game defeat -- dropping UF coach Billy Donovan’s career-record to 59-78 in games decided by five points or less -- is hardly the team’s most pressing matter moving forward. 

On Tuesday, the school announced senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who stepped on an opponent’s foot with 3:01 remaining in the loss to the Huskies, is out indefinitely with a high-ankle sprain.

453182671(Courtesy gettyimages.com)

Although X-rays were negative, the senior’s injury leaves UF’s backcourt (and an-already snakebitten team) paper-thin.

Wilbekin averaged 11.3 points, 5.7 assists and 3.3 steals in three games since returning from a six-game suspension to start the year.

Florida (6-2) is down to just six healthy scholarship players and could face No. 6 Kansas (6-1) next Tuesday (Dec. 10) without its best ballhandler or perimeter defender.

UF has just one available guard (sophomore sniper Michael Frazier II), although sophomore swingman DeVon Walker, currently sidelined with a foot sprain, is expected to return against the Jayhawks.

The Gators are now without six players expected to contribute this season:

* Wilbekin

* Freshman point guard Kasey Hill (high-ankle sprain suffered Nov. 18)

* Junior transfer guard Eli Carter (broken leg)

* Junior transfer center Damontre Harris (suspended indefinitely)

* Freshman forward Chris Walker (academic eligibility)

* Sophomore guard Dillon Graham (hip bone spurs)


Carter will officially redshirt, the USA TODAY reported. The junior guard’s fate had been a foregone conclusion, as the Rutgers transfer -- hampered by a slow-healing broken leg sustained last February -- averaged just 7.6 minutes in seven games this season. Carter did not play against UConn. … During the UF-UConn telecast, ESPN analyst Andy Katz reported freshman-signee Chris Walker remains on pace to join the Gators sometime in mid-December. According to Katz, the freshman is waiting on an academic decision by the NCAA Clearinghouse.  … Florida will play in a loaded eight-team field for the 2014 “Battle 4 Atlantis.” The Gators join a monster group including North Carolina, UCLA, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Butler, Oklahoma and UAB for the Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas. 

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