"It's still a nerve (problem) in my neck," Johnston said. "It's an injury I had really bad last year."
Known more commonly as "stingers," pinched or damaged nerves can be either just bothersome or serious. Depending on the athlete, they can also re-occur again and again.
"I worked hard in the off season to help it," Johnston said of his summer regimen of lifting weights to strengthen the shoulder and neck muscles. "That lasted about five or six games.
"It's come back now even worse."
Johnston sat out last week's game against Mississippi State. He's played in eight of Bama's 10 games this year, accounting for five receptions for 44 yards.
Johnston went into more specifics on the injury.
"It's just a really irritated nerve," he explained. "When my neck gets pushed back in a certain direction, my whole arm gets a burning feeling. It takes a really hard hit to start."
At this point, he's not even certain that he'll be able to play again this season, much less versus LSU on Saturday.
"It's the doctor's call," Johnston said last Tuesday. "I can run, I just can't take the hit right now. It's awful."