The hits just keep coming for Ole Miss, as the team received word on Thursday that starting defensive end C.J. Johnson would undergo season-ending surgery.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s Hugh Kellenberger first reported the news:
Defensive end C.J. Johnson will undergo surgery soon that will cause him to miss the rest of 2013, coach Hugh Freeze said. The junior will pursue a medical redshirt that allows him to play two more years at Ole Miss.
During the Rebels’ 25-0 loss to Alabama on Sept. 28, Johnson suffered a leg injury. It’s kept him out of the team’s last two games.
He finishes his 2013 season with 12 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.
It’s all just the latest setback for Johnson in what has become a season riddled in misfortune.
A preseason third-team All-SEC selection, the junior broke his leg during the first week of spring practice. He returned, but never quite looked to be the same player who led Ole Miss in sacks last year. Also in the loss to the Tide, Johnson was hit in the eye by an official’s thrown flag.
Senior Cameron Whigham will continue to start in his place.
With Johnson’s injury, the team could now be without up to seven defensive players—six starters—as No. 6 LSU prepares to come to town. It’s a list that includes the Rebels' No. 1 recruit in the 2013 signing class, Robert Nkemdiche, and the team’s leading tackler Serderius Bryant, among others.
“They’re all either definitely out or questionable at best,” head coach Hugh Freeze said via The Advocate’s Matthew Harris. “I’m not hopeful. We’re planning on going without them, because I just don’t seem them being ready.”