Gators unsure about Johnson’s future

With a numbers crunch on the offensive line, Florida had to alter its practice plans this spring. There could be an even bigger concern with the team’s best offensive lineman.

Earlier this week, Florida coach Jim McElwain said the Gators took “a big blow” redshirt sophomore Roderick Johnson was hurt in a scrimmage. McElwain called the injury “stinger-ish” and that he was dealing with numbness in his fingers. He was on the sideline in his jersey and shorts on Saturday.

McElwain said Florida should get a final answer from doctors on Monday, adding that it “doesn’t look great.” When asked if it has the potential to be a career-threatening injury, McElwain would only say that “every injury” has that potential.

“I’ll tell you this about any player. I will never, ever put him out there in harm’s way,” McElwain said. “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.”

McElwain also said earlier in the week that they were checking on some pre-existing injuries to see if they had any impact on this one. Johnson missed a majority of spring practice in 2014 while dealing with a concussion.

Missing Johnson would be the Florida offensive line in a difficult spot. If he doesn’t play this fall, the Gators would be down to seven returning linemen on scholarship. That number assumes Trip Thurman can return from a chronic shoulder injury that kept him out this spring.

Florida welcomes six freshmen offensive linemen to campus this summer and will count on multiple to play immediately.

“Get this freshmen recruiting class in here as soon as we can, get them involved in the program and have our guys start teaching them what it is to be a Gator,” McElwain said.

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