Florida Gators: Rod Johnson’s career cut short by injury

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.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC