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Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson a game time decision for Saturday’s SEC West showdown against Arkansas

Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson in the wildcat formation against LSU Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson in the wildcat formation against LSU Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Coach Gus Malzahn left Auburn fans in suspense Thursday night as to whether running back Kerryon Johnson will play Saturday against Arkansas.

Johnson practiced all week, but is still recovering from the right ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter of a 38-14 win over Mississippi State.

"Kerryon is getting healthier, we'll see," Malzahn said during his weekly Tiger Talk radio program. "He practiced again today. He's not 100 percent, but we'll see where he is before game time."

Malzahn offered a similar update during his appearance on SEC’s coaches conference call.

“He practiced the whole time, he was better than he was on Sunday, we will just have to keep checking his progress up until Saturday,” Malzahn said.

Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was more optimistic about Johnson’s status earlier in the week.

“He’s progressing better than our trainers maybe thought after Saturday,” Lashlee said. “It’s nothing major and serious, but we just hope he’ll continue to improve and get better.”

Johnson only carried the ball three times for 21 yards against Mississippi State, but still leads the team in rushing halfway through the season. The sophomore has 538 yards with six touchdowns and is averaging 115 all-purpose yards per game.

Lashlee said Auburn would take a “next-man up” philosophy if Johnson isn’t able to play. Kamryn Pettway, who had a career day filling in for Johnson against the Bulldogs, will likely get the majority of carries with Stanton Truitt and Kam Martin as the backups.

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