Vols to be Without Yves Pons vs. Florida on Saturday

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    Tennessee will be without a key role player on Saturday when they take on the Florida Gators in Knoxville.

    Sophomore forward Yves Pons will reportedly miss Saturday’s contest against the Gators after undergoing minor facial surgery on Friday afternoon per Grant Ramey of 247Sports. Pons suffered a facial injury after “incidental contact” with a teammate in practice on Thursday.

    Pons will be reevaluated before Tennessee’s games next week against South Carolina at home on Wednesday and Kentucky on the road next Saturday.

    No. 1 Tennessee has already dealt with injuries to key players a couple times this season. Redshirt junior guard Lamonte Turner missed nine total games due to issues resulting from off-season shoulder surgery, and redshirt junior guard Jordan Bowden missed UT’s game against South Carolina a week and a half ago after tweaking his knee during shootaround.

    It doesn’t appear Pons will be out a significant period of time with his injury, but we will update as more information becomes available.

    This season, the 6-foot-6 forward has played in all 22 games and has made 13 starts. He took over Jordan Bowden’s starting spot early in the season and started 13-straight games before being replaced by Lamonte Turner in the starting lineup.

    In 22 games, Pons is averaging 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor. He also has 13 blocks in his 22 appearances this season. Pons is averaging 15.7 minutes per game, though his playing time has dwindled since entering SEC play. He’s only averaging 12.2 minutes per contest in nine SEC games this season.

    Pons scored a career-high 10 points in his first career start in Tennessee’s win over Eastern Kentucky earlier this season. Since entering SEC play, though, Pons has hit a wall and hasn’t played as consistently.

    The sophomore forward finally broke out of a slump earlier this week during Tennessee’s 72-60 victory over Missouri, scoring six points in just seven minutes against the Tigers. Before that game, Pons hadn’t scored in four consecutive games.

    No. 1 Tennessee (21-1, 9-0 SEC) will host Florida (12-10, 4-5 SEC) at 4:00 PM Eastern on Saturday. The Vols are riding a program-record 17-game winning streak and took down the Gators 78-67 in Gainesville earlier this season.