Florida’s Micah Handlogten suffers gruesome lower leg leg injury in SEC title game, taken to local hospital

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Less than three minutes into it, the SEC championship game between Auburn and Florida was marred by a gruesome injury to Gators 7-footer Micah Handlogten on Sunday afternoon. His lower left leg buckled upon landing from an offensive rebound attempt. As play continued on the other end, Handlogten lay in a heap on the court, covering his mouth but not hiding a look that was equal parts horror and shock. Florida coaches, medical staff and Handlogten’s family rushed to his side.

Bridgestone Arena, which had been thunderous moments earlier, fell eerily silent. As medical personnel threw a towel over the injured leg and others shielded the scene from the crowd’s view, Auburn players huddled nearby to pray. Handlogten was in tears as an air cast was quickly applied to his leg and he was carefully hoisted onto a stretcher.

From a silent crowd, one fan yelled out, “Be strong, Micah, be strong!” Visibly shaken teammates raced over to wish him well as Handlogten was wheeled out of the arena on a stretcher. He received a rousing ovation and then play continued.

A UF spokesperson confirmed Handlogtenl was taken to the nearby Vanderbilt University Medical Center for further evaluation.

Handlogten, a Marshall transfer who was Sun Belt Rookie of the Year in 2023, has not been a major factor for Florida in recent weeks — just nine total points in his previous six games — but he’s started 32 times, including Sunday, and averaged 5.5 points and 7.1 rebounds. He had 23 points and 17 boards on Jan. 27 against Georgia.

The Gators (24-10) have no shortage of size, and 6-foot-10 Tyrese Samuel (14.0 points, 7.6 rebounds per game) and 6-foot-11 Alex Condon (7.8 points, 6.3 rebounds per game) can fill the on-court void, but the emotional toll of such an upsetting injury is hard to quantify.

Handlogten’s injury was so severe it drew references to Kevin Ware’s leg break, who suffered his grotesque injury in the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Louisville rallied around Ware and went on to win the 2013 national championship.

This story will be updated.

(Photo: Carly Mackler / Getty Images)

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