Unfortunately for both the player and the football program, their worst fears have been confirmed.
Tuesday afternoon, Florida announced that the playing career of offensive lineman Rod Johnson has come to an end. The announcement came one day after Johnson met with doctors to get a final diagnosis on what was initially described as a stinger-type injury.
According to the school, Johnson has been diagnosed with congenital cervical stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spine. A week ago today, Johnson was ruled out indefinitely because of the issue.
From the school’s release:
The condition is a narrowing of the spinal canal enveloping the spinal cord, preventing enough fluid to gather around the spinal cord to properly protect it from injury.
Cervical stenosis ended the career of New York Giants running back David Wilson last year and forced Cooper Manning, the brother of NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning, to retire from football during his college career at Ole Miss.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Johnson started three of the 12 games in which he played. He was expected to be the starter on that side of the line as well.
Johnson’s forced retirement is a significant blow to a unit that’s woefully lacking in depth.