Florida QB Graham Mertz might avoid surgery

Florida quarterback Graham Mertz received some positive news about his fractured left collarbone.

Gators coach Billy Napier said Monday that further testing revealed that Mertz’s nondisplaced fracture may be able to heal without surgery.

Mertz was injured with 2:09 remaining in the third quarter of Saturday’s 31-33 loss at Missouri.

“We took another image yesterday and felt good about that image,” Napier said. “You know, we’re gonna basically go a two-week period here, we’re gonna give a chance for the fracture to start the process of growing back, and then we’ll re-evaluate things.

“In the meantime, we’re going to do exhaustive research on like cases in college football and the National Football League relative to players that have been through similar injuries, just making sure we’re giving him the best map for him going forward through the rest of his career.”

Mertz won’t be available for Florida (5-6) this Saturday against rival Florida State. The Gators must win to become bowl eligible and give Mertz any shot of playing again this season.

“Much like any great competitor, I think he obviously wishes he could do everything he could do for the team. He’s going to be around and he’ll still contribute to the team in the ways that he can,” Napier said. “It’s tough. I think injuries, sometimes for players, those are some of the more challenging things that you go through.”

Mertz passed for 183 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against Missouri. The Wisconsin transfer has completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 2,903 yards with 20 TDs and three picks in 11 games during his first season in Gainesville.