Official: Gary Johnson to recover

Updated: February 20, 2013, 1:39 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Texas forward Gary Johnson is expected to make a full recovery after fracturing his skull in a collision with an opponent during a second-division Israeli basketball game.

Johnson
Johnson

The 24-year-old Johnson was put in a medically induced coma but has regained consciousness, the Israel Basketball Association said Wednesday. IBA spokesman Hagai Segal said Johnson was awake and communicative.

Johnson will require some plastic surgery but should make a full recovery, Segal said.

Johnson, who plays for Hapoel Galil Elyon, was injured Tuesday when Elitzur Ramla forward Johndre Jefferson hit Johnson in the head with his elbow.

"Gary made a step-through move, and when he was going up I was close enough to block the shot and I blocked it on the backboard," Jefferson told The Associated Press. "I don't know how it happened, but when I was coming down my elbow caught him in the forehead.

"When we both came down I was standing over his feet trying to tap him on his side to ask him if he was OK. He was holding his head and kind of rolling around."

Jefferson said play was delayed for about 25 minutes as trainers and coaches tended to Johnson, who rolled on the court in agony before being taken to a hospital.

"You could see the fracture, the break," said Jefferson, who went back to his team's bench to wait while officials worked on Johnson. "I just had to walk away."

Jefferson, who played at South Carolina, said he and Johnson had never met before Tuesday. But since the collision, Jefferson has been getting updates on Johnson's condition.

"I have never seen anything like that ever happen. Never heard about anything like that," Jefferson said, adding he hasn't watched a replay of the collision. "I didn't see the video because I didn't want to watch it."

Johnson had 13 points and nine rebounds before his third-period injury. Elitzur Ramla eventually won the game 92-73.

Johnson played four seasons for Texas from 2007 to 2011, a span in which the Longhorns reached the NCAA tournament every year. They advanced to the Elite Eight his freshman season, losing to Memphis.

Johnson averaged career highs with 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 2010-11, when Texas lost to Arizona in the NCAA tournament's round of 32.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.