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Florida shorthanded as it heads toward the start of the season

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Count Billy Donovan among the coaches who weren't eager to get going in September. The two-time national champ coach at Florida won't start practice with his team for more than a week still; the Gators will get going on Oct. 11.

The Gainesville Sun reports that when UF does break out the balls for official practices, it'll be down two players because of injury rehab. Will Yeguete, a senior forward, and Eli Carter, a junior transfer guard from Rutgers, won't be able to play in the short-term. Yeguete's career at Florida has been plagued by injuries, this most recent setback coming from arthroscopic surgery in May to his right knee. It was his second surgery on the knee in four months.

“(Yeguete's) still not cleared to play, don't know when he'll be cleared to play,” Donovan told GatorZone.com Wednesday night at the Jimmy V Classic dinner in New York City.

Donovan said Carter “still is in the process of recovering” from a broken leg he suffered last February that ended his sophomore season at Rutgers. With Carter and Yeguete out, Florida starts practices perilously thin. Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin remains suspended from the team indefinitely and is working out separately from the team.

You can see why Donovan opted for the later start. The practices could help in some ways, but the team wouldn't fully be integrated. Donovan also said the delayed start would be better so his team could practice nearly every day and get into a groove as it heads toward the season.

Florida opens up at home Nov. 8 against North Florida.

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