Keyontae Johnson update: UF athletic director Scott Stricklin says he is 'smiling and laughing'

Graham Hall
UF basketball writer

Florida athletics director Scott Stricklin provided another promising update Wednesday on UF men’s basketball forward Keyontae Johnson, who remains hospitalized after collapsing on the court Saturday against Florida State in Tallahassee.

Speaking on WRUF’s Sportscene with Steve Russell, Stricklin said Johnson was alert and awake when he visited him Tuesday afternoon. 

"First off, let me say the information we're getting about Keyontae has been really, really positive in the last 48 hours," Stricklin said. "Everybody saw what his parents put out yesterday. I actually had a chance (to visit Keyontae). I was in Dallas at CFP meetings and got back late yesterday afternoon, was able to go straight to the hospital. Had a chance to see him. He was actually awake. He was actually sitting up in a chair. You could tell he's still been sedated, so he was still a little groggy, but he thanked me for coming by. It was good to see him and sitting up, he had family in there, his parents and others."

Previous updates:Keyontae Johnson in stable condition, breathing on his own and speaking with his family

More:Florida cals off game against UNF on Wednesday night as Keyontae Johnson recovers

Less than 24 hours after Stricklin stopped by Shands Hospital to see Johnson, he’s heard news that’s even more promising Wednesday. For the second consecutive day, Johnson was able to engage with doctors and his teammates. 

Florida forward Keyontae Johnson’s (11) prognosis is “trending in the right direction, but we still have a lot of questions,” the school’s athletic director said Wednesday.

"I'm told today that he's even progressed a lot since then, that he's having good conversations with his doctors, with his coaches," said Stricklin. "He's smiling and laughing. Still undergoing more tests. I think the tests that have gotten back so far have been positive from a medical standpoint. His prognosis seems to be trending in the right direction, but we still have a lot of questions. The medical folks have a lot of questions they want to make sure they get answered."

Stricklin also made sure to set the rivalry aside and extend gratitude toward FSU’s administration and on-site medical personnel for their help in caring for Johnson, adding Florida State president John Thrasher visited Johnson at the hospital within 24 hours after the incident. 

"I also want to take this time — and we're going to do it in a more formal way — but, we love to have the rivalry we have with FSU, but the way their folks responded and stepped up was really huge Saturday," he said, "Just the whole FSU community was, they were really special during this time and we have great appreciation for them doing this and showing that, at the end of the day, this is just a game. There are bigger things in sports.”

Stricklin noted the Gators have yet to finalize a decision on whether or not UF will host Florida Atlantic on Saturday, saying the players will have input on the decision, but it appears as if a return to the court is on the horizon regardless. Prior to the Florida State contest, the Gators were in the process of finalizing a contest with Florida A&M scheduled for Sunday, and all indications are that the game will occur as planned. A decision for UF’s tipoff with FAU is expected by Thursday afternoon.

Opinion:Horrific sight of Gators' Keyontae Johnson collapsing on court made hoops meaningless