Duke Johnson, Phillip Dorsett among Miami players injured Thursday night

Streeter Lecka

Johnson was off to a fast start before taking a shot to the head that took him out of action.

In a tough road matchup against North Carolina, 10th-ranked Miami is dealing with some unexpected problems. During the first half, the Hurricanes lost two key players in a matter of minutes, each injury dealing a major blow to the team's chances of staying unbeaten.

Star running back Duke Johnson had eight rushes for 83 yards in the first quarter (59 of those coming in one fell swoop) before taking a knee to the back of the head while pass-blocking. Johnson was favoring his head after the freak play and was last seen being helped to the locker room, so it's hard to believe someone in that much duress after a blow to the head would be allowed to return to the game.

Later in the first quarter, top wideout Phillip Dorsett rushed the ball on an end around, then took a massive hit to his left knee, which was summarily landed upon in the ensuing tackle. Dorsett immediately favored his knee as he stayed on the field, which is a disconcerting sign, but he was at least able to walk off the field with some assistance.

Adding to Miami's woes: damage to defensive backs Rayshawn Jenkins, Kacy Rodgers and Deon Bush. Jenkins and Rodgers went down in the first quarter, and while Jenkins was able to return to action, he collided with Bush (Rodgers' replacement) and took Bush out during the second quarter. Bush didn't appear seriously injured after returning to the sidelines.

Miami did not issue status updates on either Dorsett or Johnson, merely confirming the area of each, but ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe said Miami's players were operating under the assumption that both are out for the game. There have been no updates on Rodgers and Bush as yet.

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