2021 NFL Draft: Top WR Justyn Ross has career-threatening spinal issue

2021 NFL Draft prospect and Clemson WR Justyn Ross will miss this season.

Football is a physical, violent game, and there are unfortunately injuries that cost players all over the country all the time. In Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross’ case, an on-field injury may have led to a very important discovery.

The 2021 NFL Draft prospect and star receiver apparently has a spinal issue that could be career-threatening.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney called it “congenital fusion” in Ross’ spine, something he was apparently born with.

According to Swinney, Ross suffered what was thought to be a stinger in the final practice session before the COVID-19 pandemic caused programs across the country to shut down, but X-rays have provided some horrible news for Ross’ 2020 season and potentially his football career in general.

Dr. David Okonkwo, who is performing the procedure on Ross’ spine, is apparently optimistic that he will make a recovery and be able to play football again, but there is risk involved.

Swinney said in his press conference that Ross will have a decision to make in January about returning to Clemson or entering the 2021 NFL Draft, but his health is obviously the utmost concern at this point.

Since his rapid ascent to stardom as a freshman in 2018, Ross has become one of the most dynamic receivers in all of college football. He caught 112 passes in his first two seasons with Clemson with 17 touchdowns, helping the Tigers win the 2018 National Championship against Alabama.

At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Ross has a well-rounded skill set with speed, quickness, strong hands, and an ability to win at every level of the field.

If Ross is able to return to football at some point, he will likely still be a high-round prospect in the 2021 or 2022 NFL Draft. This spinal condition is a serious concern, however, and NFL teams will need to double and triple-check whether or not Ross is capable of returning at full speed before making a substantial draft investment in him.

Next: 2021 NFL mock draft update

His best course of action may be to return to Clemson after this season unless he can get clearance from doctors and put on workouts for teams come January.

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