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Donovan works himself into a feverish state

By JOANNE KORTH

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2001


GAINESVILLE -- Billy Donovan is a workaholic by nature, so imagine the extra hours he has logged breaking down opponents and adjusting lineups to guide No. 7 Florida through its injury-riddled season.

Then imagine him doing it with the flu.

Donovan, 35, has been battling a viral infection for more than three weeks, even spending a night in the hospital last week after UF's overtime victory at LSU.

"I feel a little bit better," Donovan said Monday. "I'm still not 100 percent, but hopefully some more rest and some more days will get me there."

Donovan began to feel sick before a Jan. 30 game against Tennessee. He skipped his weekly media luncheon and took intravenous fluids. A week later, he felt better.

But he relapsed.

After the Feb. 13 81-74 win at LSU, during which he sweated profusely and ran a high fever, Donovan returned to Gainesville and went the next day to Shands at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Worried that he was unable to shake the virus, doctors at the hospital ran tests and kept him overnight. Donovan was released Thursday after tests came back negative.

"They put him in the hospital to make sure he didn't work so hard," forward Brent Wright said. "They said he just had flulike symptoms. I knew it was something he could recover from."

Which is not to say Donovan has changed his ways. Despite being urged by everyone in the program to go home and rest, he remains at his office late into the night.

"He just doesn't give himself any time to recover," guard Teddy Dupay said. "There are times when he could go home and get rest, and instead he's in here watching film. And not just once, but the same film three and four times.

"Everybody tells him to go home, but if he goes home, he's going to take the films home. He might as well be here, where we have better equipment. His hard work is why this program is turned around."

BASEBALL: The Gators, ranked No. 21 by Baseball America, rallied from a 3-1 deficit for a 6-5 victory against No. 11 Florida State on Sunday, snapping a six-game losing streak to FSU.

Florida (4-4) opened the season with three losses to nationally ranked Miami (15-4, 10-4 and 8-7) and lost the FSU series opener (19-6) before getting its first big win of the season. The Seminoles visit Gainesville for a two-game series Saturday and Sunday.

MEN'S GOLF: The Gators, No. 23 in the Intercollegiate Rankings, won the UNF Collegiate tournament Tuesday with a three-round score of 849 (15 under par) at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach. Augusta State was second at 850.

Individually, sophomore Bubba Dickerson tied for second with 7-under 209 (72-69-68), and junior Camilo Benedetto tied for fourth at 6-under 210 (72-67-71). North Florida's David Bennett was the medalist at 10-under 206 (66-70-70).

SWIMMING: Seventeen men and 13 women were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. To be eligible, an athlete must have a 3.0 grade-point average for the past year or, for sophomores and older, a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

- Contact Gators beat writer Joanne Korth at (800) 333-7505, ext.7306, or by e-mail at Korth@sptimes.com.

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