Keyontae Johnson update: ‘Truly encouraging’ progress as Florida postpones three more games

By Adam Silverstein
December 17, 2020
Keyontae Johnson update: ‘Truly encouraging’ progress as Florida postpones three more games

Image Credit: Alex de la Osa / UAA

As the Florida Gators basketball continues to focus on the recovery of junior forward Keyontae Johnson after he collapsed at last Saturday’s game against Florida State, the program announced Thursday that it will postpone its next three three games: Dec. 19 vs. FAU, Dec. 20 vs. Florida A&M and Dec. 22 vs. James Madison. The Gators previously postponed their game against North Florida set for Tuesday and will continue their season on Dec. 30 at Vanderbilt, opening Southeastern Conference play on the road.

Johnson, who remains in stable condition, is now showing “truly encouraging signs of progress as he undergoes tests and further evaluation at UF health,” Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement Thursday.

Johnson has been breathing on his own, speaking, having good conversations, sitting upright and laughing, according to multiple updates provided this week. This after he suddenly collapsed Saturday during the Gators’ college basketball game.

“This has been an emotionally taxing time for Keyontae’s family, friends and teammates,” Stricklin said. “Our hope is that everyone impacted will take an opportunity to process those emotions and regroup ahead of the start of the new year.”

Nika and Marrecus Johnson, Keyontae’s parents, shared their appreciation for the outpouring of love and support for their son on Tuesday. Keyontae has been able to visit with multiple people and has at least FaceTimed with teammates.

He was awoken from medically induced coma on Monday at UF Health after spending two days at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he was in critical but stable condition through the weekend. Stricklin said Wednesday that the “whole FSU community was really special” taking care of Johnson from the medical personnel on down.

No specifics have been provided as to what caused Johnson’s medical incident, though his parents promised to “continue to share updates about Keyontae’s health and progress,” saying they appreciate “how much people love and care for him.”

Johnson, the SEC Preseason Player of the Year, completed an alley-oop dunk ahead of a media timeout during the Florida State game. According to the Gators radio broadcast, he 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 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, and it appears to have been a team decision to continue playing. White and the team’s head athletic trainer remained in Tallahassee through the weekend.

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