Florida forward Will Yeguete will likely miss the remainder of the regular season due to a lingering injury to his right knee.
UF coach Billy Donovan said Thursday it was time to address the ailment with arthroscopic surgey that would sideline Yeguete for four to six weeks.
Yeguete experienced significant swelling the past several weeks because pieces of cartilage were loose in the joint. Donovan said Yeguete was not doing further damage to his knee, but finally the pain became too much to bear in the opening minutes of Tuesday night's 80-69 loss at Arkansas.
Yeguete's injury robs the Gators of their most-active and effective rebounder and one of the best defenders on a team had allowed just 51 points a game headed into the stunning loss at Arkansas.
Yeguete, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior from France, has averaged 6.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 21.9 minutes per game this season.
"He's very important," senior guard Mike Rosario said. "He's one of our, like, dirty guys. That's what we would call it, like Dennis Rodman-type, grab every rebound, our hustle guy.
"That's very important to us, having him on our team because he takes care of that area for our basketball team."
Florida's frontcourt already lacked some depth with Yeguete.
Junior forward Casey Prather has struggled since he suffered a high ankle sprain on Jan. 12 at LSU.
"He has not been himself at all, in terms of athletically moving, cutting, jumping," Donovan said.
"We become a very, very thin basketball team depth-wise," Donovan said.
Donovan said freshman guard Michael Frazier could see some minutes at power foeward. Just 6-foot-4 and an excellent 3-point shooter, Frazier has a knack for rebounding. He had nine on Tuesday, to go with three 3-pointers.
Freshman DeVon Walker of Winter Haven also will have to step in, despite limited experience. The 6-foot-6, 191-pound Walker has played just 24 minutes in SEC play.
"I don't know if he is ready," Donovan said. "We don't have a whole lot of choices now, but I will say this about DeVon Walker, which I like. He is highly competitive. He is a tough kid.
"I think he'll step in there and give us everything he has."