Johnson’s injury could be long-term

Sophomore defensive end Darius Johnson didn’t play Saturday, he wasn’t on the depth chart Monday, and there’s a good chance he won’t return for sometime.

Johnson suffered a shoulder injury in last Wednesday’s practice that coach Bill Lynch said could be long-term.

“It’s unfortunate,” Lynch said. “He was really playing well. It was a practice injury, which, you hate to have practice injuries, but you’ve gotta practice hard, too. That’s an unfortunate one, because he was providing good depth at defensive end and particularly in pass rush situations and he was a very good special teams player. I don’t know how long, but it’s gonna be a while.”

Johnson injured the shoulder making a block on a kick return in practice. Long snapper Brandon Bugg, the player he hit, initially appeared to have taken the worst of it, but Johnson hasn’t played since. In three games, he’d registered eight tackles, including a sack, and a pass breakup. He was being used to give starters Greg Middleton and Jammie Kirlew a breather and to give the Hoosiers an extra rusher on obvious passing downs.

Johnson was the only player listed as out on this week’s injury report, though offensive lineman Alex Perry and defensive end Kyle Kozak are likely done for the season and the IU sports information staff has, for the time being, ceased to list them on the injury report. Defensive end Fred Jones is listed as questionable as is cornerback Donnell Jones. Jones missed the first two games with a hamstring injury, then played in the last two, but reaggravated the injury during the Michigan game.

“He’s just one of those guys will go day-by-day and see where we are with him,” Lynch said. “We’d like to get him back in there, but some of those injuries, muscle injuries vary with each kid and even with each day. … With hamstrings, it’s day to day.”

Left guard Justin Pagain and right tackle James Brewer are both listed as probable with ankle injuries.

On the positive front, junior offensive lineman Cody Faulkner is closer to making his return. After starting all but one game at right guard last season, he’s missed the first four games, the first two thanks to a foot injury and the last two because of a shoulder ailment.

“He’s getting pretty close,” Lynch said. “He’s practiced pretty well the last two weeks, and I told him the other day, ‘Keep going man, we’re gonna need you.’ We’re just one game into the Big Ten. It’s a physical league, week in and week out. It would be good to get him back. I’d say he’s getting pretty close to where we feel like we could throw him out there. He still gets a little bit sore after a full-contact day, but less and less each week. That’s why I’m anxious to see him today and tomorrow and see where he is after that.”

3 comments

  1. man, that’s a stinker. I liked johnson for his speed, and the fact that we could have he and kirlew on one side of the line on passing downs. Who else have we got at the DE spots that will be at the level we’ve come to expect from that position.

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