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Micah Handlogten taken off court on stretcher with leg injury

Center injured in opening minute of SEC Tournament final against Auburn
Florida Gators basketball coach Todd Golden kneels next to center Micah Handlogten after his injury in first half of SEC Tournament final, March 17, 2024
Posted at 2:27 PM, Mar 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-17 15:02:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Florida center Micah Handlogten broke his lower left leg in the opening minutes of the Southeastern Conference Tournament final Sunday and was taken off the court on a stretcher to a hospital.

Coach Todd Golden, who knelt over his player while Handlogten lay on the court, said he felt for the young center after the Gators lost 86-67 to No. 12 Auburn.

"You just hate to see it for him because he does everything the right way and works hard," said Golden as he fought to control his emotions postgame. "That's a super fluky injury you know that you don't see very often in this game. Playing a big-time game like this, to go out that way, I just feel for him."

Golden also thanked the medical staff from Florida, Auburn and the SEC for the quick response in treating Handlogten, who was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Danielle Handlogten posted on social media later Sunday that her son was "out of surgery and is expected to have a full recovery" and sent thanks "for the love and support of the Herd family."

Handlogten had two rebounds in two minutes and was trying to come down with a third when he landed awkwardly on his left foot. He immediately went down in pain and rolled onto his side, putting his hands to his face.

The sound of bone apparently breaking could be heard on TV with blood immediately visible on the back of his calf.

Play continued as Aden Holloway took a pass and finished a layup on the other end for No. 12 Auburn. Play then stopped as trainers rushed out to tend to Handlogten, and everyone inside Bridgestone Arena went silent.

His parents were brought to the court from their seats in the stands. His mother, Danielle, wearing his No. 3 jersey, kneeled near his head as her son was treated on the court with his father, Ben, close as well.

Parents of Florida Gators center Micah Handlogten stand on court after injury during first half of SEC Tournament final, March 17, 2024
The parents of Florida center Micah Handlogten stand on the court during the first half of the Southeastern Conference Tournament game Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn.

Handlogten's leg was placed inside an air cast before he was placed on a backboard and then lifted onto a stretcher. Teammates came over to him as Handlogten was taken off the court. Fellow sophomore Riley Kugel could be seen crying on the Florida bench.

The 7-foot-1 Handlogten ranked 11th nationally, averaging 2.3 shots blocked per game at Marshall where he was the Sun Belt Conference freshman of the year. He transferred to Florida, and the native of Huntsville, North Carolina, started 22 of 33 games including Sunday's tournament final.