Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Once feared to be plantar fasciitis, a sore left heel has kept Joe Johnson out the last three games. With the Nets set to host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday evening at Barclays Center, the six-time All-Star remained non-committal about his availability on Thursday afternoon.
“I wanna say yeah, but I don’t wanna jump out on a limb,” Johnson said after practice at PNY Center. “We’re still trying to do the necessary things to get me back out there as soon as possible. It’s not 100 percent, but it’s definitely a lot better. I’m able to get out here, move around, work out and get back acclimated with the guys. I miss that more than anything.”
In Johnson’s absence, the Nets got blown out by the Houston Rockets on Friday, 106-96, and dropped an ugly 76-72 decision to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. On Tuesday at the New Orleans Hornets, the Nets raced ahead and held on late for a 101-97 win. In that game, Deron Williams scored 33 points to go along with eight assists.
Williams has been tremendous since the All-Star break, averaging 22.8 points and 8.4 assists in five games. Without Johnson over the last three, Williams is averaging 24 points and 8.3 assists per game.
Williams appears to have benefited from extra rest following platelet-rich plasma treatment on Feb. 11. After receiving PRP, Williams skipped the two games before the All-Star break.
With his backcourt mate playing so well, Johnson is getting antsy to start doing his part once again.
“He’s been playing great, he looks good, he’s been moving good and as a team, just in the last game, we had great ball movement that we haven’t had in quite some time,” Johnson said. “It was great to sit back and watch, just watch those guys have fun.”
Johnson was a true game-time decision on Tuesday in New Orleans. After going through pregame activities, he was a late scratch. A similar situation is likely to take place on Friday as the Nets are scheduled to shoot around in East Rutherford on Friday morning. If Johnson cannot go on Friday, C.J. Watson will get a second straight start after he scored 10 points and shot 3-for-7 from the floor in 32 minutes against the Hornets.
“We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow, what it feels like and then, it’ll be the same two-part thing,” Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “He’ll feel good in the morning and then when he loosens up before the game, but we’re hopeful.”
MarShon sits, questionable for Friday
Reserve guard MarShon Brooks sat out practice with a sprained right wrist. His availability for Friday is up in the air as Carlesimo labeled him questionable for Friday evening.
Brooks has stayed relatively healthy this season, missing just three games in November with a sprained left ankle.
Averaging just 5.2 points in just 11.6 points in what has been a disappointing season, Brooks has seen some increased minutes over the last three games. In that stretch, the former Providence College star has averaged 22 minutes per outing.
“He’s moved the ball well, he’s made good decisions with the ball and not just in terms of scoring, but he’s had some good passes where he moved the ball,” Carlesimo said. “He’s trying to do a better job defensively, which is still the biggest concern.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA