Nets' Joe Johnson won't rush back from thigh bruise

Joe Johnson walks to the bench in the

Joe Johnson walks to the bench in the final minutes of a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. (Jan. 16, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

PHOENIX -- Joe Johnson spent part of Monday mugging for the camera, flashing a few expressions to be captured in perfect fashion.

This wasn't for a GQ spread, though.

Instead, Johnson was helping the folks at 2K Sports better mimic his real-life images, all so they can incorporate it into enhancing the NBA 2K14 video game that'll be released in the fall.

"It was pretty cool," Johnson said Tuesday. "Just to be a part of it -- I'm a big 2K fan anyway -- to make it a little authentic, so to speak, in the next one, I think it will be pretty cool."

Especially since he stands to benefit most, given he always flips right to his new team when it's time to break out the joysticks and get a little 2K in.

"I always," he said, "play with the Nets."

Virtual reality may be the only place Nets' fans can see Johnson on the court anytime soon.

As the Nets (41-29) went through a light practice at Arizona State Tuesday before hopping their chartered flight to Portland for Wednesday night's matchup with the Trail Blazers (33-37), Johnson was merely a spectator, watching from courtside when he wasn't getting treatment on his right quad contusion. He said athletic trainer Tim Walsh told him the pain will start traveling from his quad to his knee before it gets better.

Johnson didn't shoot down the possibility that he may not play again for the rest of the Nets' trip here on the West Coast, which still has stops in Denver and Utah.

"I don't know, man, to be honest with you," said Johnson, who sat out the Nets' 102-100 win over the Suns Sunday after injuring himself in their loss to the Clippers a day earlier in Los Angeles. " . . . It's just getting better, but I ain't in no rush. Obviously, we are in a tight race, but guys are rolling and playing well. So, we'll see how long we can keep this thing going."

With Keith Bogans and C.J. Watson stepping up in Johnson's absence, it's imperative for them to keep that up.

"Just got to plug in Keith or whoever P.J. [Carlesimo] puts in there," Deron Williams said. "We've got to continue to go. Like I said when we talked the other day, we need Joe healthy and he needs to take his time, get back when he's ready to get back, when he feels like he's as close to 100 percent as possible.

"But as far as we approach things, our stance hasn't changed. All these games on this road trip are really big for us, so we've got to get a win regardless of who we put out there on the floor."

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