Miami Heat

Help is on the way for Heat. James Johnson ‘probable’ to make season debut vs. Lakers

Miami Heat Erik Spoelstra talks about James Johnson and the hernia surgery

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks about James Johnson's progress after his sports hernia surgery during media day at the American Airlines Arena on September 24, 2018.
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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks about James Johnson's progress after his sports hernia surgery during media day at the American Airlines Arena on September 24, 2018.

Heat forward James Johnson is close to making his season debut.

In fact, it looks like Johnson could play in Sunday’s home game against the Lakers. He’s listed as probable for the contest after missing the entire preseason and the first 15 games of the season as he recovered from May surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Johnson said last week he felt healthy, but still needed to drop weight and cut body fat before returning.

“I want to be in the best shape, and it requires a lot,” said Johnson, who is in the second season of the four-year, $60 million contract he signed with the Heat in the summer of 2017. “I’m just happy I have a GM, head coach and training staff that push me to get there and see the best in my abilities when I am at that weight.

“When I come back, I’m not trying to be on a minutes restriction. I feel like I’m getting all the way healthy. So when I’m able to play, I want to play.”

The injury report also included some not-so-good news for the Heat. While Dion Waiters (left ankle surgery) and Dwyane Wade (paternity leave) are still out, Goran Dragic (right knee) and Rodney McGruder (left quadriceps contusion) are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

While McGruder’s injury is new, Dragic missed two games with a swollen right knee last week on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9. Dragic has played in four games since then, and finished Friday’s loss to the Pacers with eight points on 3 of 8 shooting in 34 minutes.

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