Florida's forward Patric Young hurting

Florida's forward Patric Young hurting

January 17th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports - College

The Florida Gators continue to lead the nation in 3-point shooting, but the health of one of their inside talents has coach Billy Donovan concerned.

Sophomore forward Patric Young was pulled from the starting lineup and played just 13 minutes in Saturday's 79-65 win at South Carolina. The 6-foot-9, 247-pounder from Jacksonville has what Donovan believes is ankle tendinitis, and he is expected to undergo an MRI today or Wednesday.

"This has been something that has been nagging him for a couple of weeks now," Donovan said Monday. "I don't want to say that it's gotten progressively worse, because that's not necessarily true, but I think in practice he's been laboring."

Young is averaging 11.4 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds a game. He is shooting 62.7 percent from the floor.

Donovan does not think the injury is severe, but he hopes Young doesn't fall too far behind in the practice routine.

"With frontcourt guys, the first thing that starts to go is the conditioning," he said, "and we've got to make sure he keeps a high level."

Hits and misses

Every SEC men's basketball team has played three league games, and only Kentucky and Vanderbilt are 3-0.

"We've had our core group of guys together on a consistent basis since the Christmas break, and I think that's made a huge difference," Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said. "It's given us an opportunity to get better, because it's hard to get better if you don't have quality practice time."

At the other end of the spectrum are Georgia and South Carolina at 0-3. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks have lost to Florida and Vanderbilt, with Georgia also losing to Alabama and South Carolina to No. 2-ranked Kentucky.

"Nobody has played a tougher schedule than we have," Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn said. "We've played the three highest-ranked teams with the most veteran talent coming into this season, and two of them -- Vanderbilt and Florida -- are extremely difficult matchups for us with how we're playing defensively and their ability to shoot the basketball."

Taking notice

Tennessee 6-8, 250-pound freshman Jarnell Stokes had nine points and four rebounds in his 17-minute debut Saturday against Kentucky, and he certainly got the attention of Georgia coach Mark Fox. The Bulldogs host the Volunteers on Wednesday.

"The biggest adjustment for any freshman is the physical adjustment because guys are so much older and stronger," Fox said. "I thought that Jarnell, with his body, is not going to have any issue with that."

State ownership

Mississippi State has won three straight football games against Ole Miss for the first time since World War II, and the basketball Bulldogs are on a five-game tear against the Rebels. MSU basketball coach Rick Stansbury has a healthy 20-7 record in the in-state series, which resumes Wednesday night in Oxford.

"You guys think about it more than I do," Stansbury said. "You play 30 games a year, and these are two games. There are a lot of other games that count the same that you've got to keep your team prepared for."

Odds and ends

Kentucky leads the nation with 164 blocked shots and 9.1 a game. ... Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie is the SEC player of the week after the 6-11, 249-pound junior from Memphis averaged 19 points and 8.5 rebounds in wins over Tennessee and Alabama. ... Florida and South Carolina are the first teams to receive a bye week in the SEC schedule.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.