Heat reserves James Johnson and Tyler Johnson, who have combined to form one of the NBA’s highest-scoring bench duos, missed Monday’s game against Cleveland with injuries, with Tyler Johnson’s issue involving the same shoulder that has sidelined him three times in the past.
Both hope they won’t miss much time but aren’t certain.
James Johnson has a right elbow laceration sustained during Saturday’s game against Cleveland. Tyler Johnson said his injury is a sore left shoulder, with Erik Spoelstra also citing the neck region.
Tyler Johnson sustained his injury last Wednesday against Orlando and re-aggravated it against Cleveland on Saturday.
“I gave it a go at shoot-around to see how it would feel,” he said. “Felt a little discomfort but nothing that made me believe I would be out for any extended period of time. It's a day to day thing, nothing that's going to keep out a long time. I got screened [against Orlando] and my shoulder kind of got pinched in. I felt a weird sensation. I know it's nothing crazy serious. It’s just real sore.”
Tyler Johnson said he hopes to return Wednesday against Charlotte but obviously cannot be certain. He said the Heat does not believe an MRI is necessary.
Johnson missed eight games with a strained left shoulder in December 2015, then missed the final 35 regular-season games last season after left rotator cuff surgery before returning during the playoffs. He missed six games with a strained left shoulder in January. He also had problems with the same shoulder at Fresno State.
Is this related to any of those shoulder injuries?
“I don't know for sure,” he said. “[Doctors] were pretty optimistic. They said for precautionary reasons and for the sake it you run into it again it will feel sore like it did, make sure I'm healthy going forward.”
Spoelstra said one reason that James Johnson sat out Monday is “we have to make sure that elbow doesn’t get infected.”
James Johnson’s injury occurred when his elbow collided with Cleveland forward Iman Shumpert’s face, causing Shumpert to lose two teeth.
He said the injury “was really bothering me” and hurts when he moves his arm or when it’s bumped.
“It just hurts,” he said.
Is it a short-term thing? “Let's hope. I hate being out.”
Among NBA players who have not made a start this season, Tyler Johnson ranks second in scoring at 13.9 per game and James Johnson third at 12.1. Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter is first at 14.4.