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Monday, February 25, 2013
Johnson questionable for Tuesday's game

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson practiced Monday and is questionable for Tuesday night's game in New Orleans.

Johnson has missed the past two games due to a sore left heel.

"I'm not sure yet," Johnson replied when asked if he thought he'd be able to play. "We'll see how it feels after a pretty strenuous workout. I'll see how it feels tonight and in the morning, and we'll go from there."

Joe Johnson
The Nets have missed Joe Johnson's presence the past two games.
Johnson got some shots up at practice, and feels more optimistic about playing than he has since being forced to sit.

"Hopefully I can get back out there as soon as possible, but right now I'm just trying to get back healthy," he said.

Johnson, 31, is averaging 17 points on 42.3 percent shooting in 38 minutes per game.

"If I come back too soon, maybe it could get worse," Johnson said. "This is not something that I want to linger over to the postseason, so we're just trying to take care of it now."

Johnson says the rest of his body is fine.

"I feel great. This is just an unfortunate, nagging injury for me," said Johnson, who first felt discomfort in the heel on Feb. 11 in Indiana. "It's just something we'll stay on and keep working, even when I come back. I'll still come in early, get treatment and keep it calmed down."

The Nets have missed Johnson particularly in the fourth quarter of their past two games, both losses. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Johnson, who has hit three game-winning shots, leads the team with 64 crunch-time points -- defined by points scored in the last five minutes when the scoring margin is within five.

"I think when you have a major piece of your puzzle missing it's always tough," Johnson said. "The other guys have to step up and make plays.

"It's harder for me just sitting over there watching. But all the time when you're a guy sitting out, you're always gonna look at a game and think, 'Man, I could've made a difference in that game.' But we've gotta just roll with what we got, and the guys that we've got have just got to keep playing hard."

In Sunday night's loss to Memphis, interim coach P.J. Carlesimo finished the game with a lineup consisting of starting point guard Deron Williams and four bench players.

"We have a lot of guys that weren't in the right spots last night," Johnson said. "I think Deron just has to take his time and be more aggressive, especially down the stretch, and that's pretty much it.

"We get guys in the right spots, I'm sure somebody would hit a wide-open shot. Looking at it on film, we were just a little stagnant and the lane was a little bit clogged up."