Keyontae Johnson returns to Florida basketball as temporary coach after scary collapse

Florida basketball’s Keyontae Johnson has returned to the Gators team in a coaching capacity about two weeks after his scary collapse on the court during a game against Florida State.

UF head coach Mike White spoke with the media Monday for the first time since Johnson’s fall. 

“Keyontae Johnson is back with us and doing well,” White said on the SEC’s weekly teleconference. “He was at practice this morning and yesterday afternoon. He’s in good spirits, he’s helping us coach. He actually blew a whistle yesterday.” 

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Johnson collapsed during the first half of Florida’s Dec. 12 game against Florida State. He was hospitalized and reportedly placed into a medically induced coma. On Dec. 21, Johnson was released from the hospital. 

According to a report on Dec. 22 from the Gainesville Sun, Johnson was diagnosed with acute myocarditis. That heart disease has been found in patients previously diagnosed with COVID-19, although the Sun couldn’t confirm whether Johnson’s was related. A handful of Gators, including Johnson, tested positive for the coronavirus over the summer.

Speaking Monday, White said there wasn’t much he could tell reporters about Johnson from a medical standpoint, citing privacy laws and saying that Johnson’s family would release any information in that realm. White also said he has “no idea” if Johnson can eventually return to play.

White did tell local media, including the Gainesville Sun, more about what Johnson was doing back with the Gators. 

“Right now he’s really eager to help with scouting and doing some coaching, doing some officiating, talking a little trash on the sideline,” White said. “He joked about really being heavily involved in scouting on the front end, but it’s actually coming to fruition. Maybe we thought he was joking and he wasn’t. In fact, Coach Mincy’s got the next scout, and Coach Mincy and I had an early morning meeting set for this morning and when I showed up at the office Coach Mincy was in his office and Keyontae was in there with him.

“He’s giving his thoughts, he’s watched a lot of film of Vanderbilt. He’ll do a really good job in that role, and I think it will help his development down the road. Not only that, but I think it will give our guys another voice and a pure voice. And Keyontae will become an extension of us in the near future.”

Florida postponed games while Johnson was out, but the Gators will return to the floor Wednesday night at 9 p.m. to take on Vanderbilt. 

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