Gary Johnson Cleared to Play

Texas freshman forward Gary Johnson, who was diagnosed with a heart condition six months ago, was officially cleared to play and will make his debut January 2nd against TCU.

Gary Johnson will finally make his debut as a Texas Longhorn.

Johnson came to the Austin as Texas' top recruit in the 2007 class and was largely expected to be immediately inserted into the starting line-up. But after his arrival, it was discovered he had a previously undiagnosed heart condition and the run-around began.

In October, Texas officially cleared Johnson take part in all aspects of practice, but not to play. He was cleared to play in Texas' exhibition game against Xavier of Louisiana, but still couldn't play in any regular season games.

Finally, the morning of the Longhorns' December 29th match-up with Wisconsin, Johnson got the official go ahead.

"After a six-month process of monitoring testing and evaluation by Dr. James Willerson (President-Elect at the Texas Heart Institute and President of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston), Gary Johnson has been cleared to participate in all physical activities at The University of Texas, including regular-season games, beginning on January 1, 2008. Based on the team's schedule, the first game Gary can participate in will be the January 2nd home contest against TCU," said Texas athletic trainer Fred Burnett.

It was great news for Johnson and for a Texas team that was in need of more front-court depth. The 6-foot-7 freshman from Houston is expected to make and immediate impact.

Johnson averaged 26 points and 13 rebounds a game his senior year at Aldine High School. He put up 13 points, six rebounds and two blocks in Texas' preseason exhibition win.

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