By: Jenna Ladd
After an explosive performance in the first half of Saturday’s game against Kentucky, Michael Frazier II was forced to sit out for the majority of the second half due to a high ankle sprain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be the only time he will be sitting out due to this injury.
Although Florida continued to fight against Kentucky, Frazier’s absence was definitely visible on the court. In the first half alone, he was able to score in double-digits, drawing the attention of the Wildcats defense and creating for his teammates.
Frazier was on top of his game, only missing two shots all night, that is until he suffered a high-ankle sprain and limped off of the court early on in the second half. He was immediately taken back to the locker room, but appeared back on the court just a few minutes later.
A gamer, Frazier tried to come back into the game and play through the pain that was shooting through his ankle. He went back in and limped around before Billy Donovan pulled the plug, taking Frazier out of the game for good to protect the injured starter.
“Yeah, I mean we had to play the whole second half without him on Saturday pretty much,” Donovan said. “I thought our guys competed well, so again, it’s not one guy that’s going to make up for a player like Michael. We’ll need some other guys to contribute, help.”
A main concern for the Gators was whether or not Frazier would be out for their next game on Thursday against Ole Miss. Unfortunately, Donovan reported on Monday’s press conference that Frazier will not be playing in Thursday’s matchup, and his future for the games to come is unclear.
“It could be a couple weeks. It could be three days. It could be a week,” Billy D said. “I just don’t know right now. [We’ve] got to see how it responds to the treatment. But he’s not practicing today and I would say he’s probably, definitely out Thursday.”
With Frazier being one of the more consistent players on an inconsistent team, this is a big disadvantage for Florida as they continue conference play. However, he is known for being a leader both on and off of the court and will be utilizing his leadership skills to benefit the team in any way that he can.
“It’s going to be difficult because he’s one of our main scorers, a big leader, when he’s on the court,” freshman Chris Chiozza said of his teammate. “But his experience, he knows when he’s not playing, he can still be a great leader while he’s not playing, he can give us a boost, some energy, just being on the bench.”
Without Michael, the Gators will need to step up and play harder in their teammates’ absence. What is questionable for Florida’s playing without him is that before Frazier was out they needed someone to step up and make an impact. Maybe now that he is out, the team will have more incentive and motivation to contribute offensively.
They have some time to prepare and get motivated before Thursday when they take on the Ole Miss Rebels at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 7 p.m. Hopefully the Gators will take notes from their impressive performance on Saturday and translate that momentum in the rest of their schedule – with or without Frazier.