Britton Johnsen earned all-Mountain West Conference honors the last two seasons.
March 19, 2003
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Utah senior forward Britton Johnsen, diagnosed early last week with infectious mononucleosis, has been ruled out for the NCAA Tournament following a reevaluation by team physician Dr. Dave Petron on Wednesday morning in Salt Lake City.
Johnsen's enlarged spleen was slightly reduced in size when he was examined on Monday, almost a week after his condition was originally diagnosed. He was also no longer suffering from a fever or swelling in his throat, and his energy level was much improved, leaving open the possibility that he could play this weekend. However, when Petron performed an ultrasound on Johnsen's spleen Wednesday, there was no further improvement.
The Utes departed for Nashville on Tuesday evening. Although he will not play, Johnsen is expected to join his teammates in Nashville in time their NCAA first round game Friday afternoon. The Utes, seeded ninth in the Midwest Region, take on eighth-seeded Oregon at approximately 2:00 p.m. (CST).
Johnsen did not accompany the team to the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas last week and has already missed two games due to his illness. Johnsen first began feeling ill on Feb. 27, two days before Utah's game against New Mexico. Thinking he had the flu, he did not report his condition to the team trainer or his coaches. His condition was diagnosed on March 10.
Johnsen, a native of Murray, Utah, was named first team all-district and second team all-Mountain West Conference this season. He averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game during the regular season despite playing with a torn ligament in his right thumb. He sustained the thumb injury against Utah State on Dec. 17 and finished the game before undergoing surgery. After missing two games, Johnsen returned to the lineup, playing with a splint on his hand until late January. Utah has gone 3-1 in games without Johnsen this season, getting wins over Pepperdine and San Diego on the road in December and a victory over Air Force in the MWC Tournament before falling to UNLV in the semifinals.
Named the 2002 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, Johnsen has scored 1,051 points to rank 27th all-time at Utah. He has been a part of three conference championship teams and played on the 1998 NCAA Final Four team as a freshman.