After undergoing surgery for a spinal issue in Pittsburgh on June 5, Justyn Ross is getting ready for an important doctor’s appointment with Pittsburgh Steelers neurosurgeon David Okonkwo, one of the country’s top neurosurgeons who performed the procedure, in less than a week.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney provided an update on his star wide receiver, who has missed all of the 2020 season, following the third-ranked Tigers’ practice Wednesday.
“I think we’re like six days away,” Swinney said of Ross’s upcoming doctor’s visit. “I think it’s December the 8th, I believe that’s right. He’s just super excited.”
After undergoing an X-ray this spring, Ross learned he had a congenital fusion, which is something he was born with. The doctors also discovered he had a bulging disk, which only aggravated the situation.
Ross experienced stinger-like symptoms and numbness after catching a pass and being hit during a spring practice. He was slow to get up and ended up missing the remaining few practices of the spring.
Despite the injury and not being able to play this season, Ross remains in good spirits and is doing well per Swinney as he gets set for the doctor’s appointment.
“He feels great, and he’s very optimistic and he’s just praying that it goes well,” Swinney said. “All of us are.”
Will Justin Foster play this season? Foster has yet to suit up in 2020, but Swinney said the senior defensive end is still trending in the right direction and Swinney is hopeful that Foster will be able to take the field at some point.
“As far as whether or not he’ll play, I don’t know,” Swinney said. “Again, same answer, really. Hopefully, but no guarantees on that. But he is moving in a good direction.”
Foster was an honorable mention All-ACC selection last season when he recorded 41 tackles (10.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, a pass breakup and a forced fumble in 15 games, including 13 starts.
Other injury updates from Swinney. Sophomore safety Lannden Zanders, who left the Nov. 7 Notre Dame game with a shoulder injury and did not play last Saturday vs. Pittsburgh, remains sidelined but is expected back by the time the postseason rolls around according to Swinney.
“Zanders is still out right now but improving,” Swinney said. “He’ll be ready to go whenever postseason comes for us.”
The Tigers will get sophomore defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro, who suffered a knee injury in the season opener at Wake Forest on Sept. 12, back on the field for Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech.
“Ruke’s going to be back this week,” Swinney said. “You probably saw him dressed out last week, so he’s really progressed well for us.”
Swinney gave the latest on sophomore wide receivers Frank Ladson (foot) and Joseph Ngata (abdomen) as well.
“Ladson right now is still what we’d say is day-to-day, and Ngata is still out but getting better,” he said.
Swinney also said that offensive lineman Blake Vinson (knee) is available.
Swinney excited about future of freshman DT despite season-ending injury. Swinney told reporters that freshman defensive tackle Tre Williams is out for the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
“Same shoulder that he hurt in high school,” Swinney said. “But he’s doing great.”
Williams, a former four-star and top-100 national prospect, made his collegiate debut at Wake Forest and contributed four tackles (one for loss) at Georgia Tech. He played the 2018 and 2019 seasons at St. John’s College High in Washington, D.C., helping his team go 9-1 in 2018 and rank 20th in the nation (second in the Washington, D.C. area) by MaxPreps.
“He’s really done a nice job attacking his rehab, and really thankful that he got a chance to get a little bit of experience this year,” Swinney said. “That will really serve him well. But great young prospect. I mean, really, really excited about his future, his ability. We’ve got to get him fully healed up and healthy, but he’s doing well.”
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