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Florida forward Casey Prather cleared to return Saturday


A discussion of the most improved players in college basketball this season has to include the name of Florida senior forward Casey Prather. After averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game as a junior Prather’s raised his production to 17.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, leading the Gators in scoring.

But after experiencing swelling in his left knee following No. 7 Florida’s SEC opening win over South Carolina the 6-foot-7 Prather’s missed the last two games for Billy Donovan’s team. Florida won both games, one of which being a tough overtime victory at Arkansas, and they’ve had to deal with various injuries and suspensions for much of the season. But even with that being the case, Florida needs their leading scorer back on the floor.

According to multiple outlets Prather’s expected to return to game action on Saturday when the Gators host Auburn, although it remains to be seen just how much playing time he receives. “How much he’ll play is really, really hard to say,” Donovan said of Prather on Friday. “I’m doubtful he’s play much. That’s my guess.”

Prather’s health resulted in Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith moving into the starting lineup, and the sophomore took full advantage of the opportunity. In wins over Arkansas and Georgia, Finney-Smith averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds (15 rebounds against Arkansas) and 3.0 assists per game. If Finney-Smith can continue to produce once Prather gets back to full strength, Florida’s going to be even more difficult for opponents to slow down.

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