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Florida’s Erik Murphy has a fractured rib

Southeastern Louisiana v Florida

GAINESVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 19: Forward Erik Murphy #33 of the Florida Gators drives to the basket against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions December 19, 2012 at Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators won 82 - 43. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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Erik Murphy will have a tough way to go as the Gators enter Southeastern Conference play.

GatorZone.com is reporting the 6-10 senior has a fractured rib, but he hasn’t been ruled out of any games. However, he is doubtful for the game against Georgia on Wednesday.

Murphy, who is second on the team at 12.1 points per game, originally hurt the rib, the eighth rib on his left side, in a game against Air Force earlier this season, then took a forearm to the same area on Friday, fracturing the rib.

Murphy already missed Sunday’s game at Yale, which bore extra meaning for him, being that it was close to his hometown of South Kingstown, R.I.

“It’s in a really bad spot. It’s right by his lat [muscle],” Coach Billy Donovan said. “Any time he raises his arms up or reaches his arms up, there’s a significant amount of pain.”

An injury like a cracked rib is a pain to deal with. You can’t speed up the healing process and there’s no quick out-patient procedure or real cast that can help protect it. It hurts to pretty much do anything — run, bend, breath, roll over, etc. — and it just has to be treated with care. Those of us who have had their share of broken ribs know this.

If I were Donovan, I sit him again. Georgia is a team they can beat without him and rest is the only real way to heal a broken rib. Outside of wearing a flak jacket, there’s no real way to protect him, should Murphy get hit again in that area and create further injury or pain.

Games against LSU and Missouri are upcoming and they’ll need at least a healthier Murphy for those contests. No reason to risk further complication on an injury there’s not much one can do about.

David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.