Like his backcourt teammate Deron Williams, Joe Johnson has missed some time recently due to a nagging injury, a problem with his heel. Since the all-star break, Joe has only played in 8 of Brooklyn’s 12 games, including sitting out of last night’s win over New Orleans. However, he has said that this will not be a long-term injury and he will play in the Nets’ next game. Joe had not missed a single game for Brooklyn in the first half of the season before the all-star break.
The question for Joe is if he will come back looking better than he did before the injury. Since the all-star break, Joe has only averaged 13.7 ppg. He is averaging 16.6 ppg for the season, and is looking to return to at least those numbers if not higher. After not playing last night, Johnson has 5 days off before Brooklyn’s next game against his former team Atlanta at home.
As a Nets fan, I am happy that Joe sat out last night. First of all, the Nets won and didn’t seem to miss Joe very much against a bad Hornets team. Additionally, with their biggest road trip of the season coming up, a road trip that will likely decide the Atlantic Division, it is important for the Nets to get as much rest as they can now so they are ready for that trip.
After the Atlanta game on Sunday, the Nets hit the road to face Detroit, Dallas, the Clippers, Phoenix, Portland, Denver, Utah, and Cleveland. The Nets have been a pretty good road team this season and there are some winnable games there. If the Nets can go .500 or better on the trip, there will still be a chance at an Atlantic crown. However, if they get only 2 or 3 wins on the trip, their chance of winning the division is very small.