CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Miami running back Duke Johnson will miss the remainder of the season with a broken right ankle, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
Johnson was hurt during the seventh-ranked Hurricanes’ 41-14 loss at No. 3 Florida State on Saturday night. X-rays were taken before the team left Tallahassee, Fla. and it was determined that Johnson will need surgery in the coming days, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because Miami had not announced the diagnosis.
Johnson was on the team’s flight home early Sunday morning.
He got hurt on a fourth-and-2 play in Florida State territory late in the third quarter, when Miami was trying to cut into what was then a 35-14 deficit. He was hit short of the first down, going down after the initial contact – and then had at least three other players awkwardly fall atop him, including one of Miami’s own blockers.
Johnson’s right leg bent underneath him at an unusual angle. He remained on the ground, tended to by Miami medical personnel, and after more evaluation on the sideline he was eventually driven away on a cart.
He finished with 97 yards, giving him 920 for the season.
Johnson’s injury is the second significant one to rob Miami’s offense of a key skill player this season. The Hurricanes are still without wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who partially tore a ligament in his left knee last month and is expected to remain sidelined for at least a couple more weeks.
“We’ve got to saddle up and get back on and move forward,” Miami coach Al Golden said Saturday night in Tallahassee, before the news of the extent of Johnson’s injury became known. “Our kids have had a great attitude. They’ve been fighters. They’ve been resilient. And now we’ve just got to get moving forward.”
Miami (7-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) remains in control of the league’s Coastal Division race. The Hurricanes play host to Virginia Tech next Saturday in what will almost certainly prove to be a pivotal game on the way to deciding the Coastal champion.
With Johnson out, Miami figures to use running back Dallas Crawford in the feature-back role going forward.
“Hopefully we’ve got six games left,” Golden said after the Florida State game, again before the severity of the Johnson matter became known. “We’re just taking it one game at a time. There’s a whole lot of football left. We have to get better. That’s my chief concern right now.”
Johnson left three other games early this season, one because Miami had things well in hand against Savannah State and two others after getting shaken up after hard hits. He had been tested for concussions at least twice but didn’t miss any games, and ran a career-high 30 times on Oct. 26 with a pair of late touchdowns to lift the Hurricanes over Wake Forest.
It’s just the latest chapter to an eventful year for Miami, which got its long-awaited NCAA decision after a scandal revolving around the actions of a former booster finally ended last month. The Hurricanes will be going to a bowl game after this season for the first time in three years.