TG: Erik Murphy to make quick return

Florida has been without starting power forward Erik Murphy for the past two games, as Murphy had been diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee after a practice last week.

After Murphy and his personal doctor presented the Florida team doctor and the training staff with a magnetic resonance imaging scan and X-rays of a meniscus tear he suffered during his sophomore year of high school, the diagnosis was changed to a bone bruise on his right knee.

“Because he had a knee injury when he was in high school, some of it was around his cartilage area,” UF coach Billy Donovan said. “We just wanted to be able to see the X-rays and the MRI from when he was in high school just to see if there was any more damage done to his knee based on what had already been there. There was really nothing more.”

Though the news is positive for Murphy, the junior from Rhode Island is still expected to miss Florida’s game against No. 4 Syracuse on Friday.

Barring further damage to his knee, Murphy is expected to be out three to seven more days and could return to the lineup sometime next week, Donovan said.

“We’ll try to get him back to start doing some things,” he said. “However long it takes or how much better he’s feeling, we’ll find out a little bit more.”

Murphy has played with the cartilage damage in his knee since high school, and doctors decided he did not need surgery after examining it recently.

Donovan said the junior could potentially return when Arizona visits the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Dec. 7.

Sophomore Will Yeguete has started in Murphy’s place. In the last two games, Yeguete has nearly averaged a double-double, with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Yeguete has been a strong presence on the boards, pulling down a team-best 0.362 rebounds per minute. He also led the team in rebounding-per-minute in the 2010-11 season.

“I really felt like watching him play (in high school), he really did a lot of little things,” Donovan said. “I thought he had good athleticism off the floor, he could rebound in traffic. That’s kind of who he was in high school.”

Quick Hitters

  • Asked about the sex-abuse allegations against now-terminated Syracuse basketball assistant Bernie Fine, Donovan said it is a “very sad situation” but he does not expect it to affect the players on either team.
  • Donovan said one of the biggest things he hopes his team has improved on since its last big road test against Ohio State is ball security. The Gators turned the ball over 16 times against the Buckeyes, and the Florida coach said that must be improved against Syracuse.
  • Syracuse will play primarily a 2-3 zone defense against Florida. The Gators have faced the 2-3 zone against both Jacksonville (only a little) and Stetson. Donovan said he hopes both of those games will prepare the Gators for the looks they’ll face Friday, but also noted the Orange have much more length and athleticism than those teams.
  • Donovan said he’s been very pleased with Florida’s rebounding so far. Despite a small lineup, the guard have rebounded well and helped the Gators outrebound every team they’ve faced so far. Donovan expects a huge challenge against 7-footer Fab Melo and 6-foot-9 forward Rakeem Christmas.
  • Syracuse won the last meeting between the two 85-73 in a 2009 meeting in the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Kenny Boynton scored 20 points and Erving Walker chipped in 14 points and six assists.
  • Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario has played Syracuse twice. The former Rutgers point guard scored 32 points in a pair of losses to the Orange. Syracuse ranked in the Top 10 each time it faced Rutgers while Rosario was there.