Johnson on Injury Treatment: "We Do It Three or Four Times a Day."
Kerryon Johnson scoring one of five touchdowns against Missouri on September 22
(Photo: Auburn Athletics/Todd Van Emst)
Returning from injury is hard work, especially for Kerryon Johnson.
Since injuring his hamstring against Georgia Southern to open the season, the junior from Madison, Alabama has played in both of Auburn's conference games, rushed for 164 yards, and eight touchdowns, including nearly tying a school record with five rushing touchdowns against Missouri on September 22.
With numbers like these, you would think that Johnson has a clean bill of health. Johnson says that is not the case.
“I’m getting back to 90-95% range," says Johnson.
When will he know if he is over the 95% mark? Johnson says it's all in Tuesday's practice.
"Practice today will be the “hard day”, which will be a telling day,” says Johnson on Tuesday practices, which is conducted after an off-day on Monday.
Thankfully, Johnson only missed two games. His quick turnaround is largely based on the immense treatment that he, and other injured players receive daily.
"I have a 8:00 A.M. class everyday, so I wake up at 6:30, or if we have workouts that morning, I wake up at 6," says Johnson of going through treatment for a hamstring injury. "Treatment, go to class, do treatment again before practice, do another round of treatment after practice, so that’s three times."
After a game where defenders go full-speed for 60 minutes, it can leave running backs banged up and sore. Treatment count rises easily on Sundays, according to Johnson.
"On Sunday, we get it two or three times before practice. You go to practice, and do it again. You just go whenever you can basically.”
Five games into the season, the 4-1 Tigers have only played one game where their top backs, Johnson and Kamryn Pettway, have played in the same game. Johnson says that it is important for the third, fourth, and fifth string backs to rise to the occasion.
"If that happens, if somebody goes down, then the next person has to rise to the previous standard that has already been set. If they do that, then we will not miss a beat.”
Kam Martin, Devan Barrett, and Malik Miller have all carried the football in crunch time for Auburn this season, does Johnson have confidence in those players if they need to step up and fill in for either him or Pettway?
“I have full confidence in them. All those guys are all in the same predicament. Very good backs, who are just waiting for their opportunity. When they get the opportunity, they do something with it.”
Auburn is fifth in the Southeastern Conference in rushing offense, with 208.4 yards per game, and has found the end zone 15 times on the ground. Johnson leads the SEC in rushing touchdowns with nine, two more than Texas A&M's Keith Ford. Johnson also leads his team with 300 yards on 57 carries through five games.