Nets forward Cameron Johnson will be reevaluated in 10 days after an MRI revealed he has a strain in his left calf, per the team.
The season just started, and the Nets have already caught the injury bug, as Johnson and center Nic Claxton (ankle sprain) were both injured in the season-opening loss to the Cavaliers. Unfortunately, Johnson’s injury is slightly worse than expected, as during the initial injury report, he was only considered day-to-day with a left leg contusion, and was even seen shooting around at Sunday’s practice ahead of the Nets’ game vs. the Mavericks.
Now after the MRI results came back, the diagnosis will keep Johnson sidelined for an extended period, presumably at least two weeks. This is discouraging news for the fifth-year player, since this injury occurred in his first game back in action, after missing the entire preseason with a hamstring strain on that same leg.
Johnson, 27, 6-foot-8, was a part of the trade that sent Kevin Durant to Phoenix, correspondingly bringing him and his teammate Mikal Bridges to Brooklyn. In 25 games for the Nets last season, Johnson averaged 16.6 points (46.8% FG, 37.2% 3P), 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 steals. After signing a four-year $94 million extension this summer, the team has high hopes for Johnson this season. With this in mind, in his absence, the team will miss his shooting and ability to stretch the floor, as Johnson shot 43% from long range in his final two seasons with the Suns.
Considering the Nets have a tough upcoming schedule, the team will have to rely on the scoring of Cam Thomas, Bridges, and Spencer Dinwiddie to pick up the slack, as they look to improve on their 0-2 record while taking the court tonight against the Hornets. With both Johnson and Claxton out tonight, the Nets will most likely play small ball, with three guards in the starting lineup, featuring the second leading scorer in the NBA, Thomas (33 ppg), alongside Dinwiddie and Bridges. Then the team will have 6-10 Ben Simmons playing point-forward, and 220-pound stretch four Dorian Finney-Smith roaming the frontcourt.
To note, the team hopes to have their 6-11 center, Claxton, back sooner rather than later. That is to say, Claxton’s recovery has taken a step in the right direction as he was not seen in his walking boot during today’s shootaround, so his status in the coming week will be something to monitor, but for now he is considered day-to-day.
And as the Nets will seemingly be without Johnson, for at least the first half of November, this means the team will be short-handed with approaching matchups featuring the Heat, Bulls, Celtics, Bucks, and Clippers on the horizon.