GAINESVILLE -- Depth remains an issue for No. 18 Florida, but the shorthanded Gators could return to a pair of starters sometime over the weekend.
Senior guard Eli Carter and versatile forward Dorian Finney-Smith made the trip to the Bahamas for this week’s Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, and both starters are questionable for Wednesday’s opener against Georgetown (9:30 p.m., AXS TV).
Carter -- diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain -- has not practiced since sustaining the injury late in a workout last Thursday, but coach Billy Donovan hoped to have a better idea of the swingman’s status sometime Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Finney-Smith -- who sustained multiple hairline fractures in his left hand in Florida’s regular-season opener against William & Mary -- has been cleared for non-contact drills but remains plagued by persistent pain. The redshirt junior, who posted15 points and five rebounds in his lone apperance this season, has missed UF's last two games.
“Neither of them has practiced,” Donovan said.
“They’re doing some stuff individually. I think Dorian’s hand does feel better. He still has pain. A lot of it’s going to come down to what he can actually tolerate.
“[Dorian's] got two broken bones in his hand, so it’s not a situation where you’re looking at it and saying ‘geez this guy just needs to play through some pain.’ I think it’s very, very difficult right now for him to catch, to dribble. And I think when the ball does come to him, I think that’s a problem. I think going up to rebound is a problem. So where does he get to a point where he feels like the pain is manageable? Because he’s going to be playing with pain for some significant time, that’s definitely going to happen. Now how long it takes for him to be totally pain-free I don’t know.
"But he’s going to have a brace on his hand definitely for a few weeks. I don’t know what or how much we can get out of him. I know right now he’s not really cleared for practice, well he is cleared for practice, but I think the feeling by the trainer and the doctor is if his pain is pretty significant, what ends of happening is the constant hitting of it, catching, rebounding, banging it all that does is create more swelling, creates a longer healing process, and that’s something we’re trying to avoid right now.”
Carter, averaging 14.5 points in two games, is only doing conditioning drills.
With both starters sidelined, the shorthanded Gators, with just six scholarship players available, struggled to topple Louisiana-Monroe 61-56 in overtime Friday night. Florida (2-1) practiced three times last Saturday in an effort to build some cohesiveness with its depleted depth.
Thus far, Florida’s most reliable contributor to start the season has been walk-on forward Jacob Kurtz, who’s averaging 6.0 points, 9.3 rebounds 2.3 assists in three games.
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