Florida could be without Murphy vs. Wisconsin

  • Article by: MARK LONG
  • Associated Press
  • November 13, 2012 - 7:58 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Already short-handed to start the season, No. 10 Florida could be without forward Erik Murphy against No. 22 Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

Murphy, who scored 15 points in the team's season opener against Alabama State on Sunday, has missed practice this week because of flu-like symptoms.

Coach Billy Donovan said Murphy has been dealing with bad headaches and nausea.

Donovan hopes Murphy will be able to play against the Badgers (1-0), but has no idea how much he would be able to provide.

"I don't know if it's the flu or what it is," Donovan said. "He's had to battle that. I would like to say we'll have him in a position to play, but the problem is from a preparation, scouting report. ... He hasn't watched any film. He hasn't been through any of the walkthroughs, what we're doing defensively, offensively, so he's got a lot he's got to catch up on. If he can't practice, being in there to absorb it mentally would be just as important."

Making matters worse for the Gators (1-0), they also will be without starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin (suspension) and reserve forward Casey Prather (concussion).

Wilbekin has been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed reason, and Prather has sustained two concussions in the last two weeks.

Throw in the unexpected departure of forward Cody Larson last month, and the Gators are down several bodies in practice and games.

"There's just some things there that we can and can't assimilate inside a practice right now because of a lack of depth," Donovan said. "If you look at from where we started at the beginning of the year, between Larson, Wilbekin, Prather and now Murphy, that's four legitimate, experienced guys that you're taking off the team."

Donovan believes this is the most number of early season challenges his team has faced in more than a decade. In 2001, Florida lost guard Teddy Dupay to a back injury, lost forward Brent Wright to a broken foot and lost guard Justin Hamilton to a season-ending knee injury.

"Had to deal with some of the stuff before," Donovan said. "It's part of it. You play with the hand you're dealt and try to take the hand that you have and get those guys as prepared and ready as they possibly can be. That's the hard part. You don't want guys overthinking because they're out of position and now they're not reacting and responding and playing, but they're trying to figure out what am I supposed to do."

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