Florida basketball cancels North Florida game, FAU game in doubt as Keyontae Johnson recovers

By Adam Silverstein
December 14, 2020
Florida basketball cancels North Florida game, FAU game in doubt as Keyontae Johnson recovers
Basketball

Image Credit: Courtney Culbreath / UAA

It is unlikely that Florida Gators basketball takes the court for either of its games this week. Florida has canceled its game with North Florida scheduled for Wednesday, and its game Saturday against FAU is in doubt, a source close to the situation tells OnlyGators.com.

CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander and Stadium’s Jeff Goodman first reported that UF would not play Wednesday.

The Gators’ decision to cancel Wednesday’s game stems from emotional distress the program is dealing with following the sudden collapse of junior forward Keyontae Johnson four minutes into Florida’s game against Florida State on Saturday. UF is looking out for the well being of its players and coaches.

Though the Gators did finish their game against the Seminoles after Johnston was stretchered off the court, it was believed to be a team decision made in the moment without the depth of information the program now has about Johnson’s condition.

Johnson remains in “critical but stable condition” after being transferred from Tallahassee Memorial Hospital to UF Health in Gainesville, Florida, on Monday. He is now “following simple commands and undergoing further tests,” Florida announced Monday afternoon.

Responding to simple commands (blinking the eyes, sticking out the tongue and gripping someone’s hand) along with recognition of senses (changes to light, touch and sound) are considered a significant step as one improves from previously being unresponsive to a minimally conscious state, according to the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Johnson’s grandfather, Larry DeJarnett, told USA Today on Monday that Johnson was placed in a medically induced coma in Tallahassee. DeJarnett also said doctors hoped to bring Johnson out of the coma on Monday.

The decision to place Johnson into the coma was made amid a concern about potential brain injury, according to DeJarnett; however, an experienced emergency room surgeon tells OnlyGators.com that such a decision could also be made following a cardiac event. No specifics have been provided as to what caused Johnson’s medical incident.

Johnson, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, had just completed an alley-oop dunk ahead of a media timeout. According to the Gators radio broadcast, Johnson was walking to the top of the arc after breaking the huddle when he fell face-first and laid unconscious on the court.

Footage played by ESPN later Saturday during a college football broadcast showed Johnson’s eyes open on the court but closed on the stretcher. He had a bloody scrape on the right side of his chin, presumably from falling on the hardwood.

Play was delayed for a few minutes while the Gators huddled with many players crying. Head coach Mike White led the team in a prayer. White and associate athletic director for sports health Dave Werner remained in Tallahassee, and Florida flew Johnson’s parents into the state.

OnlyGators.com will update this story as appropriate.

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