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Another setback: Bad back benches Dupay

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 10, 2001


photo
[AP photo]
Teddy Dupay drives past Chuck Eidson of South Carolina on the way to the basket during first half action Sunday.
The X-ray pile is growing and the roster shrinking for Florida's nationally ranked men's basketball team, which learned Tuesday that shooting guard Teddy Dupay has a herniated disc in his lower back.

He will miss 4-6 weeks.

The news came less than a week after forward Brent Wright had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, sidelining him 3-6 weeks.

"Like Brent, Teddy brings a lot of experience to the table," coach Billy Donovan said. "(We will miss) his experience, his shooting and the fact that he's a guy who has made some big shots for us and has had some very big games for us."

Coming off a 69-68 loss Sunday at South Carolina in its SEC opener, No. 7 Florida plays at Mississippi State today. The Gators will try to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since February 1999.

Wright and Dupay, both starters, were the second- and third-leading scorers, respectively. Wright, a senior, averaged 15.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. Dupay, a junior, averaged 14.1 points and was leading the SEC in three-point shots per game, averaging 2.7.

Dupay's absence likely will mean more playing time for sophomore LaDarius Halton, who missed last season with a degenerative knee condition.

"This throws a bit of a wrench into our lineup," Donovan said. "We'll have to make adjustments."

THE BRIGHT SIDE: The women's basketball team (13-1) moved into the Associated Press Top 10 on Tuesday for the first time since Feb. 9, 1998.

"I think we have a little cocky confidence, but I think that goes along with the personality of our team," said junior point guard Brandi McCain, whose return after two injury-plagued seasons has sparked UF. McCain is the leading scorer (19.7 points per game).

Unranked in the preseason, Florida has beaten three ranked teams: 2000 Final Four participants Penn State (then No. 11) and Rutgers (then No. 7), and Mississippi State (then No. 17).

Florida plays No. 4 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Gators have one victory in the past 11 meetings.

"It was going to be a big game long before anyone decided that we were going to be in the Top 10," 11th-year UF coach Carol Ross said. "Every time we play Georgia it's big."

- Correspondent Debi Jones contributed to this report. Joanne Korth covers Florida. She can be reached at (800) 333-7505, ext. 7306, or by e-mail at korth@sptimes.com.

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