CHICAGO -- Wearing an all-gray sweatsuit while the rest of his teammates were sporting shorts and jerseys, Joe Johnson sat on the scorer’s table inside a quiet United Center fielding queries about his foot.
Although he said the plantar fasciitis that he’s developed in his right foot feels better, Johnson was non-committal regarding his status for Game 3 against the Bulls on Thursday night. He remains a gametime decision. In fact, he wasn’t sure if he was going to participate in the Nets‘ shootaround, which is basically a walkthrough.
“Honestly, I don’t even know,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what the plan is this morning, so I’m just kind of going with the flow.”
P.J. Carlesimo wasn’t tipping his hand regarding the plan for his star shooting guard. Asked directly, the Nets interim coach said flatly: “If he can play, he’s going to play.”
Pressed on if Johnson was going to rest or participate in the shootaround, Carlesimo didn’t budge. "We'll see if he can play,” he said. “If he can play, he'll play.”
Still, it’s hard to think Johnson won’t at least give it a try, being this is the playoffs and all. The only true way for his injury to heal is by rest and, even though this series is spread out a little bit, there’s not much down time in between games.
So if Johnson is going to be on the court, he’ll have to play through it. As the guy who’s taken many clutch shots for them in his first season in Brooklyn, the Nets can’t understate his importance.
“We need Joe out there, you know?” Deron Williams said. “We’ve talked about it all year. He’s a big part of this team, an added scorer out there that we need on the floor and commands double teams. So, we need him out there and we need him healthy. That being said, we don’t know how he’s feeling. We have to go out there and play hard. It’s the playoffs. Injuries happen.
“It’s somebody else's chance to step up if that’s the case.”