UF star forward Johnson to spend Christmas at home

University of Florida junior forward Keyontae Johnson was released from the hospital this week.
University of Florida junior forward Keyontae Johnson was released from the hospital this week.

University of Florida junior forward Keyontae Johnson was released from the hospital this week and will spend Christmas at home with his family.

The 2020 Southeastern Conference preseason Player of the Year was hospitalized initially in Tallahassee after collapsing during the Gators’ game at FSU on Saturday, Dec. 12. He was airlifted to UF Shands in Gainesville on Dec. 14.

His parents, Nika and Marrecus Johnson, released a statement calling Tuesday “a great day!”

“We continue to be amazed at the pace of his recovery and look forward to spending Christmas together as a family,” the Johnsons said. “Along with so many well wishes and prayers, we’ve understandably gotten questions about the cause and extent of Keyontae’s illness. As much as everyone involved wants firm answers, the process to draw definitive conclusions continues, and we ask for patience as the medical professionals continue their work.”

The Johnsons said they are committed to sharing updates on their son and information that could help others.

“When we have that, we will share it,” they said. “Until then, we continue to be grateful for the care and support Keyontae is receiving.”

Zach Alboverdi of the Gainesville Sun has reported that Johnson was “diagnosed with a heart inflammation (myocarditis) that may be related to an earlier infection for COVID-19.”

According to Alboverdi, Johnson is expected to miss three months, which could include the rest of the 2020-21 season.

Keyontae Johnson, an All-SEC first-team selection, averaged 14 points per game last season and was the Gators’ leading scorer through four games, averaging 16.0 points per game.

Last week Johnson tweeted a video—now viewed more than 2 million times—thanking God for his recovery, fans for their prayers, and the medical staff who have cared for him.

“I just want to say thank you for all the support y’all gave me, especially the lady that was at the gym at Florida State,” Johnson said.

Florida has postponed its remaining non-conference games. The Gators will open up their SEC slate on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Vanderbilt.

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