6 more Gators held out of practice with flu symptoms

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 1 Florida Gators kept six more players out of practice Tuesday because of flulike symptoms.

Gators coach Urban Meyer said starting linebacker A.J. Jones was among those feeling ill. No player has had a confirmed case of swine flu, but Meyer has expressed concern that the virus could ravage the defending national champions.

Receivers coach Billy Gonzales, who was sent home the day before because he had a fever, returned to practice Tuesday wearing gloves and a mask.

Also not at practice were defensive back Josh Evans, receiver Justin Williams, running back Mike Gillislee, defensive end Earl Okine and walk-on offensive lineman Shawn Schmieder.

"We're all right," Meyer said. "We've just got to get ready. We're doing what we've got to do. What we can control, we control. Guys are wiping down everything. We're doing everything we can. I think we'll be all right."

Meyer sounded as if he were coming down with something himself, but insisted he was just hoarse from "screaming too much" during practice.

Previously, running back Jeff Demps, tight end Aaron Hernandez and defensive end Jermaine Cunningham were isolated because of flulike symptoms.

"They're still not 100 percent," Meyer said. "We had six others come down today with it, so we're battling a little bit right now."

The Gators all had a round of flu shots Sunday, about a week after one school official predicted that as many as 40 percent of students could catch swine flu this season.

Team doctors and trainers responded by placing hand sanitizer and prevention checklists all around the facility.

When asked about the flu, linebacker Ryan Stamper jokingly coughed at reporters, then laughed.

"We're doing a real good job with that, trying to keep guys from catching that," Stamper said.

Also Tuesday, linebacker Brandon Spikes (Achilles tendon) and receiver Deonte Thompson (hamstring) did not practice. Meyer was optimistic Thompson would be able to play Saturday at Kentucky.

"They ran him again today and he's feeling really good, but I'm just kind of cautious right now," Meyer said. "We didn't hit the mark last week, so I want to hit the mark this week."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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