Stafon Johnson's season is finished, but his playing days probably are not.
A trauma expert who was part of the team that performed more than seven hours of throat surgery on the USC tailback said Tuesday that Johnson, injured in a weightlifting accident, would make a full recovery and play again when healed.
"We definitely are working very hard to get him better, for him and for the rest of his fans," said Dr. Gudata Hinika, trauma director at California Hospital Medical Center. "So we expect him to be on the football field at some time."
Whether that occurs first at USC or in the NFL remains to be seen. Johnson, a former star at Los Angeles Dorsey High, is a fourth-year senior.
A USC official said the school's compliance office had determined that Johnson could potentially be granted an extra year of eligibility because of a medical hardship.
But Johnson also would be eligible to make himself available for the NFL draft.