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Yeguete to undergo knee surgery

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida junior forward Will Yeguete is likely out for the rest of the regular season for the Gators. He will undergo arthroscopic on his right knee later this week.

Junior forward Will Yeguete will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee later this week.

Coach Billy Donovan expects him to miss four to six weeks recovering.

"He's had some significant swelling over the last several weeks," Donovan said. "He's got some floating chips and cartilage in there. He's got to have some arthroscopic surgery to have it cleaned out."

Yeguete has been playing through the injury for the last few weeks, and Donovan said he's still cleared to play. However, he hasn't been as effective lately.

He averages 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds while playing 21.9 minutes per game.

While he could keep playing through the injury, Donovan believes it's in his best interest to undergo surgery now.

"We don't want to get into a situation where once a week we're draining his knee and draining his knee and doing those kinds of things," he said. "I don't think that's healthy for him and just right now for him the best course is to get it resolved, get it taken care of."

Replacing Yeguete won't be easy for Florida, which is now dangerously thin in the frontcourt.

Junior small forward Casey Prather will be forced to play an expanded role, and he's still not 100 percent healthy after suffering a high ankle sprain in mid-January.

The options after Prather are limited.

Freshman DeVon Walker has played just 4.4 minutes per game, and Donovan's definitely not sure about his ability to handle a larger load.

"Oh, I don't know if he is ready," Donovan said. "We don't have a whole lot of choices now. But I will say this about DeVon Walker, which I like. He is highly competitive. He is a tough kid. I think he'll step in there and gives us everything he has."

There's no doubt the loss of Yeguete stings the Gators, who are still reeling from a blowout loss to Arkansas on Tuesday after jumping up to No. 2 in the national rankings.

"Anytime you lose a player on your team, it always hurts," Donovan said. "We become a very, very thin basketball team depth-wise. That’s probably more of a challenge because we’re really not getting anything from Casey right now."

Florida will have to replace Yeguete's infectious energy, too.

"He's one of our, like, dirty guys. That's what we would call it, like Dennis Rodman-type, grab every rebound, our hustle guy," senior Mike Rosario said. "Him and Casey basically play that role for us, rebounding the ball and being at the right spot at the right time, especially at the defensive end. That's very important to us, having him on our team because he takes care of that area for our basketball team."

For the second year in a row, the Gators will have to get used to doing it without him.

Last year, they coped well and wound up all the way in the Elite Eight with a team that picked up the pieces perfectly. Now this year's team will find out if it can do the same.

"It’s a little bit of a different situation than it was last year for our team because last year’s team had an enormous amount of depth in the backcourt," Donovan said. "We also had enough depth in the frontcourt to absorb Will’s injury last year. It really wasn’t as impactful as it is right now for our team just because there is a lack of depth there."

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