The Florida Gators will be without sophomore forward Will Yeguete and junior guard Mike Rosario on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa against the Alabama Crimson Tide. The two are the top two players off the bench for the Gators, and both play over 15 minutes per game. Both were ruled out by Billy Donovan on Monday.
Yeguete will not play after suffering a concussion when he slammed his head into a basketball standard, after blocking a Tennessee shot. He received 10 stitches to close a cut from the collision. The incident is Yeguete’s second concussion of the season. He experienced the first at the hands of Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger in November. Yeguete has not yet been cleared for Saturday’s game against Arkansas and must pass post-concussion tests before returning. The team’s third leading rebounder and leader in steals per game, the loss of the forward should be significant to the Gator’s chances against the Tide. His importance to the team as a high-energy player cannot be stressed enough; Alligator Army’s Andy Hutchins believes he’s the “heart of this team.”
Rosario did not play Saturday against Tennessee and won’t play Tuesday, missing his second game in a row and fifth game of the season as he continues to struggle with a hip pointer. The team will miss Rosario’s perimeter shooting and off-the-bench scoring.
Without Yeguete and Rosario, the Gators will look to reserve players sophomore forward Casey Prather and freshman forward Cody Larson for contributions. Larson will be making his return Tuesday – although he will likely be limited – after missing Saturday’s game with a stomach virus. However, the Tide are also in rough shape. Though Alabama is expected to return key wing players sophomore guard Trevor Releford and junior guard Andrew Steele from suspensions, Florida will be facing a short-handed Alabama team without star forwards and leading scorers senior JaMychal Green and junior Tony Mitchell, both suspended indefinitely.
Injuries could play a key role in the outcome of the game and it will be interesting to see how the Gators fare without Yeguete and Rosario. Pay attention to the front-court battle during the game, or lack thereof.