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Stephen Johnson injury update: Kentucky Football QB expected to face Ole Miss Rebels

It looks like good news for Saturday’s hero, though he will miss practice.

Jeremy Chisenhall

Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops held his weekly press conference today, and he provided several roster updates.

Quinton Bohanna will now be starting at nose-tackle, Lonnie Johnson will replace Chris Westry at cornerback, and most importantly, it looks like Stephen Johnson will be available to play on Saturday.

After overcoming an injury to his left shoulder to lead Kentucky in a 29-26 victory over Tennessee on Sunday, Johnson was seen leaving the football facilities with his arm in a sling.

Many worried about the severity of the injury, but Stoops eased those worries with his comments. He did acknowledge that Johnson is very banged up and will not practice today, although it is unclear when he will return to practice.

“As I said after the game, you just have to admire Stephen and his toughness and his determination,” Stoops said Monday. “It doesn’t surprise any of us. I think he was kind of mad that he had to go in (the locker room), but he certainly — We had to make sure we checked him out.

“We felt like it was an injury that Jim (Madaleno) had a good idea of what it was, but you have to go in and check it to see to what degree and make sure there aren’t other issues. I had a good idea he’d come back, but I think it does say a lot about him and it does help us and help the team. The fact that he wanted to sprint out (of the locker room) there and get back as soon as he could. He didn’t miss very many plays.”

Johnson only passed for 46 yards on Saturday, but did a great deal of damage with his legs in rushing 6 times for 84 yards and the game winning touchdown. That touchdown, diving into the end zone with 33 seconds remaining and landing on that bad shoulder, could potentially put Johnson in the UK Athletics Hall of Fame.

Stephen Johnson is the first Kentucky quarterback to defeat both Tennessee and Louisville since 1924. Let that sink in.

Some worried that Johnson actually injured his shoulder further on that dive, but Stoops indicated that wasn’t the case on Monday.

Not that I know of. I’m sure he’ll tell you: He definitely is very sore,” said Stoops. “I saw him Sunday. He was beat up. He was beat up pretty good. So, yeah, I had my youngest boy with me for an hour at the office Sunday and we were walking around. I went down and saw some of the guys in the training room.

“Normally, every once in awhile Stephen and some of the boys they’ll all go bowling with my kids once in awhile. I talked about going bowling, and then I looked at him and I was like, ‘You better not bowl today.’ He was beat up pretty good.”

In Johnson’s brief absence against the Volunteers, backup Drew Barker came in and fumbled on his second play, giving Tennessee the football at midfield while the Wildcats were clinging to a 21-20 lead. It was more clear then than ever how important Stephen Johnson is to this team. Many of his teammates sang his praises after the game as well.

Kentucky will take the field against Ole Miss in Lexington at 4 p.m. on Saturday, hoping to build on their momentum and improve to 7-2 overall. Rest easing knowing that Stephen Johnson will be suited up and ready to go.