Nets forward Cam Johnson drives the ball past Cleveland Cavaliers...

Nets forward Cam Johnson drives the ball past Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

DALLAS — The Friday morning clouds seemed fitting as Nic Claxton arrived at the Nets’ shootaround in a walking boot for his sprained left ankle. Things got cloudier two hours before tip-off as Cam Johnson also was ruled out against the Mavericks with a left calf contusion.

However, the prognosis on both seemed good, according to coach Jacque Vaughn. Both were day-to-day and hadn’t been ruled out for Monday’s game in Charlotte.

Vaughn said before the game that Johnson’s injury came near the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Cavaliers and that he felt pain testing it during shootaround. The injury is unrelated to the strained hamstring that caused him to miss the preseason.

Claxton was injured midway through the third quarter against Cleveland but continued to play as he logged 28 minutes overall. The boot, Vaughn added, was just precautionary.

“Those first 48 hours after an injury, just staying off it,” Vaughn said. “Good thing we have two days between when we play Charlotte and so hopefully those days work in the benefit of both Cam Johnson and Nic.”

With both out, Dorian Finney-Smith and Cam Thomas started against the Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

With Johnson’s minutes limited after missing the preseason, Finney-Smith started the second half Wednesday. Thomas drew the eighth start of his career after starting most of the preseason with Johnson out.

It’s not the way the Nets hoped to start this four-game road trip, but Vaughn wasn’t worried about it.

“It doesn’t change, I think, overall the message that we’ve had with our group. Throughout the course of the year, we’re going to need everybody,” he said. “I’ve talked about different guys finishing games. So nothing new to our group. It just happens in the second game of the year.”

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