April 06, 2015

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida offensive tackle Rod Johnson is sidelined indefinitely following a ''stinger'' that left his fingers numb.

Coach Jim McElwain said Johnson was hurt in practice Friday. The coach said tests on Johnson's neck/shoulder revealed ''some things that he might have had well before from that area.''

''He got banged up and ... his fingers kind of went numb and, you know, kind of stinger-ish type of deal, which I still don't know quite what exactly that is other than you know those are things that you're always very cautious with,'' McElwain said Monday. ''We'll get that thing looked at by a lot of different people.''

Johnson's injury leaves the Gators with just six healthy scholarship linemen for the final three spring practices, including the spring game Saturday. The team's most experienced lineman, fifth-year senior Trip Thurman, has a chronic shoulder injury that has kept him out all spring. McElwain is hoping Thurman will be able to give the team something this fall after taking eight months off.

So losing Johnson was the last thing Florida could afford, even though the team has six offensive linemen - including five-star recruit Martez Ivey - scheduled to enroll this summer.

''We took a pretty big blow in the O-line with Rod Johnson,'' McElwain said. ''We've got to check on some pre-existing injury type of stuff there to see where he's going to be at. ... It hurts us in an area that we didn't have a lot of people to begin with.''

Johnson played in all 12 games last season, with three starts, and was expected to solidify the right tackle position.

''Well, they went in and found out there were some things that he might have had well before from that area,'' McElwain said. ''We'll do, obviously, what's in his best interest. In moving forward, we'll make sure we do what's best there.''

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