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<p>UF gymnast Alex McMurtry swings during Florida's win over Auburn on Jan. 27, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.</p>

UF gymnast Alex McMurtry swings during Florida's win over Auburn on Jan. 27, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.

Alex McMurtry was ready to make her 2017 floor debut.

Then she got sick.

“I’m feeling pretty weak,” McMurtry said. “We’re not really sure if floor is in the plans this weekend or what’s going on. I was joking that just when I know what’s going on, God throws me a curveball.”

But the virus that’s kept her from being able to practice normally this week didn’t just impact her.

According to Florida coach Jenny Rowland, only three girls on the team have avoided its wrath, impacting their ability to work out this week and draining their energy levels.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some changeups in the lineups,” Rowland said on Tuesday. “It hit us pretty hard.”

The fatigue and lack of practices won’t help when the No. 3 Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) face No. 9 Georgia (5-1, 4-1 SEC) tonight in the O’Connell Center in the nation’s top dual meet.

The Bulldogs come in riding a five-meet win streak after a slow start to the season while the Gators are hoping to rebound from their first loss of the season against No. 6 Alabama.

Last season, Florida lost to Georgia by just 0.05 in Athens, and it's ready to get back on the mats after leaving Tuscaloosa without a win.

“I didn’t treat it as a loss because I thought we had a really great meet,” McMurtry said. “It’s OK. We are going to bounce back.”

Five meets in, vault has become the one apparatus where the Gators have been consistently strong.

If McMurtry is healthy enough to compete tonight, she and the coaches will have to decide whether or not she will perform what has become her signature vault — a Yurchenko double — or just a full.

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The double has a 10.0 start value and is one of the most difficult moves to perform in all of collegiate gymnastics and something that her coaches thought may be too much for her because of her nagging back injury.

The two times she has been able to execute it, she scored 9.950 and 9.900.

“For the previous meets, (assistant coach Adrian Burde) asked me if I wanted to compete the double, and I said yes,” McMurtry said. “But this (past) weekend at Alabama, he said I was doing the double.”

Sick or not, however, the Gators are going to try to get their third straight home win of the season tonight against the Bulldogs.

“It’s not ideal for any team, but we’ll be able to get through it,” Rowland said. “I’m glad it happened now and not at the end of the season.”

Contact Lauren Staff at lstaff@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @lstaff27.

UF gymnast Alex McMurtry swings during Florida's win over Auburn on Jan. 27, 2017, in the O'Connell Center.

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