Injured Hurt makes trip to Miami

Maurice Hurt may play in Thursday’s BCS national championship game, but it’s likely he won’t.

Still, that’s not the most important thing for Hurt, a sophomore offensive lineman for Florida. He’s more concerned about getting himself completely healthy and being ready to play when he does. So he’s focused more on that than the Oklahoma Sooners, the Gators’ opponents Thursday night.

“I could play, if I’m needed,” said Hurt, a former Baldwin standout. “But we’re not going to force it. I’m not necessarily having trouble, but the injury I have is the kind of injury you have to be careful about.”

Hurt was bothered by stingers during the 2007 season, and things got so bad that he had surgery during the spring.

He said he returned to practice the week before the Gators played LSU in October and played the next week against Kentucky.

In all, Hurt played in five of the Gators’ final seven games, missing the Gators’ win over South Carolina and the SEC championship game win over Alabama.

“I’m about 65 to 70 percent, and I’m getting better,” Hurt said. “I’m looking forward to getting all the way back and having a better chance to play more.”

Hurt is also looking forward to the Gators’ trip to Miami this week. He was with the program when the Gators won the national championship in 2006 but only played in three games last year.

He has now played in 13 games during his Florida career.

“It’s crazy, there’s nothing like it,” Hurt said of the national championship game. “My freshman year was great, but this time, it’s more personal for me. Things have gotten so much better with my neck, and it’s something to just be around this team.

“That’s the motivation, to get back to being a part of the team again and helping the team win.”