The Florida Gators coaching staff has been walking around with horseshoes, four-leaf clovers, rabbits’ feet and any other good luck charm they could get their hands on this spring. For the most part, rubbing Buddha’s belly and not stepping on cracks in the sidewalk has helped them as the Gators have remained largely unaffected by the injury bug that has plagued them the past two years.
Until last Friday.
“We took a pretty big blow in the o-line with Rod Johnson, kind of went down and got banged up a little bit,” McElwain said. “We’ve got to check on some pre-existing injury-type of stuff there to see where he’s going to be at, but he’s definitely obviously with what we have until we have more information on it.”
Pressed as to what Johnson’s injury was, McElwain was unclear but his non-medical professional diagnosis didn’t sound good.
“He got banged up and kind of felt you know his fingers kind of went numb and you know kind of stinger-ish type of deal, which I still don’t know quite what exactly that is other than you know those are things that you’re always very cautious with and we’ll get that thing looked at by a lot of different people.”
“Stinger” is an old, common term among football coaches and players, but what is a stinger? It’s an injury to the nerves in the neck and/or shoulder that cause a burning, stinging or numb feeling. Another name for the injury is a brachial plexus injury. The injury is caused by the traction or compressive forces on the brachial plexus — such as a hard hit to the shoulder.
To access and determine the extent of the injury, or to diagnosis the injury, doctors will use X-Rays, EMGs and a MRI to determine the extent of the problem and pinpoint an area.
It sounds like that process has already begun.
“Well, they went in and found out there were some things that he might have had well before from that area. And, if they had shown me the X-ray, I wouldn’t have been able to tell what the heck it was anyway. We’ll do, obviously, what’s in his best interest. In moving forward, we’ll make sure we do what’s best there.”
Johnson is the second most experienced offensive lineman (12 appearances) on the roster. He’s projected to be a starting offensive linemen this season for the Gators, anchoring down the right tackle spot and, at a position that was already razor thin, this is precisely the loss that Florida didn’t need and isn’t prepared to recover from.
Johnson will obviously be held out the remainder of spring but the fact that McElwain mentions previous injuries and the desire to get multiple opinions so soon is discouraging.
Johnson was out at practice today with the Gators going through their final practice without pads but he did not participate in any drills.