The Texas Longhorns will be without starting linebacker Gary Johnson for up to six weeks after the rising senior suffered a groin injury in practice on Tuesday. Head coach Tom Herman didn’t initially think it was serious, but subsequent evaluation determined otherwise.
“Gary Johnson strained his groin. He was rushing the passer, got locked up and a cleat kind of stuck and twisted his leg awkwardly. I don’t think it’s anything serious,” Herman said.
On Thursday Herman revealed the diagnosis by team trainers, which is an adductor longus grade three sprain.
‘Very, very similar to I guess what Jordan Hicks had where he pulled the adductor longus off of the pelvis, but millimeters,” Herman said Thursday. “It’s non-surgical. They’ll put him in a brace and that should… this has happened hundreds of thousands of time. They used to go in and tack it to the bone. They put him in a brace to make sure it doesn’t stretch and let that scar scar-up. It seems to do a lot better. Six weeks for him. Hurt for him.”
A junior college transfer from Dodge City CC, Johnson burst into the starting lineup midway through last season and then emerged as the team’s best linebacker during the Texas Bowl when Malik Jefferson was unable to play.
Now a team leader, Johnson’s loss is significant because the ‘Horns are thin at that position, though his absence will provide more first-team reps for one of the other linebackers.
Senior Edwin Freeman is his back up, but he’s currently out after re-injuring a triceps strain that he suffered over the holiday break. Because he had an MRI on Thursday, he did not practice.
As a result, the Longhorns used junior Jeffrey McCulloch at middle linebacker and Malcolm Roach at weakside linebacker as part of the Lightning package that defensive coordinator Todd Orlando used on Thursday.