Florida lost far more than simply their first conference game when the Gators were beaten badly by Arkansas on Tuesday.
Will Yeguete, the energetic forward on a team that is still 18-3 overall and 8-1 within the SEC, went down with what looked like a minor knee injury at the time. He had only played one minute before sustaining the injury. However, after heading into the locker room, it was determined that Yeguete was at least done for the night.
[Related: In-depth look at the Gators’ tough loss here]
Now, unfortunately, coach Billy Donovan and the team will be without one of their best players for far longer, according to GatorZone.
“It’s Will’s decision,” Coach Billy Donovan said Thursday. “He wants to do what he can to play this season.”
Yeguete, the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder who provides tenacious defense and ranks second on the team averaging 6.3 rebounds per game, will undergo surgery to remove “floating bodies” in his knee. On Friday, team doctor Kevin Farmer will remove the loose pieces of cartilage using an arthroscope, thus cutting down on recovery and rehabilitation.
His expected recovery time is four to six weeks. Even if he returns on the earlier side of that prediction, however, he will still miss the rest of the Gators’ regular season, as well as the SEC Tournament.
For the second year in a row.
Last year, Yeguete broke his foot against Arkansas. After his injury, Florida lost four of its next five games prior to making its run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.
This year, Yeguete doesn’t plan on missing a moment of The Dance, and thus the decision to immediately go under the knife.
“He doesn’t want to miss out on that opportunity again,” Donovan said.
While not a starter, Yeguete plays heavy minutes at both forward positions and even center at times. Thus, losing him is a severe blow to the team’s depth. Look for more minutes out of a familiar face in junior Casey Prather, as well as more time on the court for two freshmen. Michael Frazier can fill in at small forward off the bench, and DeVon Walker may some of his first significant minutes of the season.
Everyone here at FloridaGamedayr is wishing Yeguete a speedy and healthy recovery.