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Standout Husker LB JoJo Domann's season finished due to hand injury

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Ohio State vs. Nebraska, 11.6

Nebraska's JoJo Domann (13), Austin Allen (11), and Will Nixon (12) walk off the field after their 26-17 loss against Ohio State on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

JoJo Domann’s Nebraska career is finished.

The sixth-year senior outside linebacker said his goodbye via Twitter on Thursday afternoon and explained his decision on his podcast, "The Beat with JoJo Domann."

Coach Scott Frost said Saturday after a 26-17 loss to Ohio State that Domann had played hurt and that he’d have a decision to make about the final two games.

Domann confirmed on his podcast that he had surgery on Monday to address a hand injury that he suffered against Purdue on Oct. 30.

Domann said he hit his left hand on a helmet on the first drive against the Boilermakers and suffered an injury to the middle finger. 

"I remember looking down at my hand during the game and my knuckle was dislocated and I was like, 'Oh, that's not good,'" Domann said. "I just kind of wiggled my fingers around until it popped back into place and then I just forgot about it and played the rest of the game." 

In the days after the game, though, Domann learned he needed surgery. He decided to play one more game against the Buckeyes. 

"My decision into going was, one, I felt like I needed closure," he said. "I didn't want to end on those terms against Purdue. I wanted to know when my last game was. I was prepared for it to be against Iowa, and for that to be cut short, I just needed some closure for myself. And then, it just didn't sit right in my body to leave the Blackshirts like that, to leave Isaac Gifford out there with three days' notice against the No. 1 offense in the country. It just didn't sit right." 

So Domann went out and played one of the better games of his career, finishing with nine tackles (one for loss), a first-quarter interception of OSU quarterback C.J. Stroud and two pass breakups. 

After the game, Domann was on the field with his family, sharing embraces and taking photos. Then, he ran through the tunnel and blew kisses and waved to the fans who had stuck around after the final whistle.

It all looked very much like a finale.

Sophomore outside linebacker Garrett Nelson choked up when discussing what Domann had meant to the Huskers and to him.

“Coming back for a sixth year and staying this long and giving what he gives to this program speaks volumes to the person he is," Nelson said. "He’s one of the best guys I know personally, he’s one of the best players in the nation. He’s meant a lot to me as a leader and as a player, taught me how to lead, taught me how to play hard. Taught me a lot about football and about life. He was one of my first really good friends here when I came to college.

“He’s a top-tier guy.”

Domann should also be in line for recognition from the Big Ten this winter, even though he’ll miss the final two games of the season.

He’s a versatile defender, capable of doing everything from rushing the passer to covering receivers in the slot. He’s currently seventh in the Big Ten in tackles and ninth in tackles for loss. 

Domann’s final line this year in 10 games: 72 tackles (nine for loss), two sacks, two interceptions, three breakups and two forced fumbles.

Even more impressive: After injuries derailed the early part of his career — he missed all of 2017 with a knee injury, then played sparingly in eight games due to injury in 2018 — Domann played in 35 straight games dating back to Oct. 27, 2018.

Domann said he plans to be around the team as much as possible over the final two weeks of the season, but he thought it was important that the surgery happen as soon as possible to avoid risk of further injury and to make sure he stays on track for NFL Draft-related workouts in the coming weeks and months. 

"I just need to get it done so I can carry on with my football career and do what's best for me in this moment," Domann said. "I hope everyone listening and everyone that's seen me play knows I left everything that I had out on that field and for this program and that just because my season is two games short, doesn't negate the fact that I gave everything I had and that I want to be out there." 

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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