Tar Heels in NBA: Johnson to have knee surgery, could miss significant time, is 4th UNC alum dealing with injuries

By R.L. Bynum

A season that started with so much promise for Cameron Johnson has taken a painful and frustrating turn.

He left Friday’s Phoenix Suns game against the Portland Trail Blazers with a knee injury and the team announced Sunday that Johnson tore the meniscus in his right knee, will undergo surgery and is out “until further notice.” His recovery period could take months.

“He’s a starter for us, so that’s always a tough blow,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That happens throughout the season. You just have to make your adjustments.”

He left Friday’s win over the Blazers after playing five minutes. He landed awkwardly while trying to plant a foot and run in the other direction.

In his third NBA season but first as a starter, Johnson averaged 13.0 points and 3.4 rebounds in eight games, shooting 44.6% from the floor and 43.1% from 3-point range. His best game was on Nov. 1 when he scored 29 points and seven 3-pointers in Phoenix’s 116–107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Johnson could not negotiate a long-term contract extension with Phoenix before the season and is in the final season of his rookie contract.

Without Johnson in the lineup, Phoenix beat Portland on Saturday 102–82. Nassir Little had nine points and two assists for the Blazers.


Johnson joins fellow UNC alums Danny Green, Cole Anthony and Coby White in dealing with injuries.

Green hasn’t played an exhibition or a regular-season game in his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies as he recovers from May surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.

Anthony suffered a right internal oblique injury and has missed the Orlando Magic’s last five games.

White suffered a left quadricep contusion and has missed Chicago’s last four games.


In Sacramento’s 126–123 overtime victory at Orlando, Harrison Barnes collected nine points and five rebounds for the 3–5 Kings.

ADVERTISEMENTS

ADVERTISEMENTS


In Utah’s 110–102 Sunday road win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Walker Kessler had four points, five rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes.


Tony Bradley, Justin Jackson and Day’Ron Sharpe haven’t been getting off the bench of late.

In the Bulls’ 113–104 Sunday loss at Toronto, Bradley didn’t play (coach’s decision) for the seventh consecutive game and 11th time in 13 games.

In Boston’s 133–118 Saturday win at New York, Jackson didn’t play (coach’s decision) for the third consecutive game and the seventh time in nine games.

Brooklyn’s 98–94 Saturday win at Charlotte was the fourth game of the last six Sharpe hasn’t played (coach’s decision) after getting in the first four games of the season.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

Age 22 | 6–3, 185 | third NBA season | UNC 2019–20 (1 season)

126–123 OT Saturday loss vs. Sacramento — Anthony is out indefinitely with a right internal oblique injury and missed his fifth consecutive game
Season statistics — 4 games, 15.5 points, 41.5 FG%, 35.0 3P%, 73.4 FT%, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 turnovers, 1.0 steal
Next games — 7:15 p.m. Monday vs. Houston; 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Dallas
———————————————

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

Age 30 | 6–8, 225 | 11th NBA season | UNC 2010–12 (2 seasons)

126–123 OT Saturday win at Orlando Started; 35 minutes, 9 points, 4–10 FG, 1–4 3FG, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, +5
Season statistics — 8 games, 11.1 points, 38.9 FG%, 5 of 27 3FG, 80.0 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Monday at Golden State; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Cleveland
———————————————

Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

Age 24 | 6–10, 248 | sixth NBA season | UNC 2016–17 (1 season)

113–104 Sunday loss at Toronto Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 2 games, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 1.5 rebounds
Next games 8:45 Monday vs. Toronto; 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. New Orleans
———————————————

Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

Age 31 | 6–6, 205 | 10th NBA season | UNC 2010–13 (3 seasons)

Off Saturday and Sunday
Season statistics 8 games, 6.0 points, 34.0 FG%, 34.2 3P%, 60.0 FT%, 2.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Next games 9:45 Monday vs. Brooklyn; 7 p.m. Wednesday at Orlando
———————————————

Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

Age 27 | 6–8, 220| sixth NBA season | UNC 2014–17 (3 seasons)

133–118 Saturday win at New York Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 2 games, 6 points, 2–5 FG, 2–5 3FG
Next games — 9 p.m. Monday at Memphis; 7:30 Wednesday vs. Detroit
———————————————

Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns power forward

Age 26 | 6–8, 210 | fourth NBA season | UNC 2017–19 (2 seasons)

102–82 Saturday win vs. Portland — Missed game with a right knee injury
Season statistics 8 games, 13.0 points, 44.6 FG%, 43.1 3P%, 72.7 FT%, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assist
Next games 8 p.m. Monday at Philadelphia, NBATV; 8 p.m. Wednesday at Minnesota
———————————————

Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

Age 21 | 7–0, 245 | rookie NBA season | UNC 2020–21 (1 season)

110–102 Sunday win at Los Angeles Clippers 16 minutes, 4 points, 2–2 FG, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 foul, plus/minus of 0, 6.3 game score
Season statistics 8 games, 5.1 points, 69.6 FG, 60.0 FT, 4.4 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist, 1.5 blocks
Next games 10:15 Monday vs. Los Angeles Lakers; 7:30 Wednesday at Atlanta
———————————————

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers small forward

Age 22 | 6–5, 220 | fourth NBA season | UNC 2018–19 (1 season)

102–82 Saturday loss at Phoenix 15 minutes, 9 points, 3–5 FG, 1–1 3FG, 2–2 FT, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 foul, -21, 7.0 game score
Season statistics 9 games, 6.2 points, 50.0 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 2.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Next games 8:30 Monday at Miami; 7 p.m. Wednesday at Charlotte, Bally Sports Southeast
———————————————

Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

Age 27 | 6–5, 212 | fifth NBA season | UNC 2014–18 (4 seasons)

Off Saturday and Sunday
Season statistics (1 game) — 7 minutes, 2 points, 2–2 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, +8, 3.3 game score
Next games 9:45 Monday vs. Brooklyn; 7 p.m. Wednesday at Orlando
———————————————

Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

Age 21 | 6–9, 265 | second NBA season | UNC 2020–21 (1 season)

98–94 Saturday win at Charlotte Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics 6 games, 3.3 points, 42.1 FG%, 0–1 3P, 4.2 rebounds, 0.8 of a block, 0.8 of an assist
Next games 9:45 Monday at Dallas; 7:30 Wednesday vs. New York, ESPN
———————————————

Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

Age 22 | 6–4, 195 | fourth NBA season| UNC 2018–19 (1 season)

113–104 Sunday loss at Toronto Missed his fourth consecutive game with a left quadricep contusion
Season statistics 7 games, 8.1 points, 38.2 FG%, 29.4 3P%, 1.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Next games 8:45 Monday vs. Toronto; 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. New Orleans
———————————————
Out while recovering from surgery
Memphis forward Danny Green will miss most of the season after surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee suffered in May.
———————————————
Get an explanation of the game score metric here.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s