Redshirt sophomore Rod Johnson’s football career has come to a premature end. Johnson missed the final week of spring camp and the Orange and Blue Debut with what was first diagnosed as a stinger but the injury proved to be more serious. Johnson was informed that he has “narrow spinal column” or cervical stenosis.
When McElwain first mentioned the injury as a stinger, he seemed hopeful that Johnson would be fine if given some time off. He did allude to a possible complication, or preexisting set of circumstances that made the situation in murky water.
“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,” McElwain said, sounding hopeful.
McElwain’s tone and demeanor changed following the Orange and Blue Debut. Due to the severity of the situation, Johnson receive several opinions and the early prognosis didn’t look good.
“Doesn’t look great and one thing I’ll tell you this about any player. I will never, ever put him out there in harm’s way,” said McElwain. “And we’ve got a medical staff that looks at everything. We send the things all over the country to specialists and I’ll have more on that probably Monday. Life’s too short, man. Ain’t gonna do it, ain’t gonna do it to a young guy.”
Johnson was the best offensive lineman that the Gators had and a player with some personality, fire and juice. He was well liked and respected by his teammates and had taken a leadership this spring.
Florida will be hard pressed to find a replacement for Johnson on the field but off the field as well.