Miami Heat veteran James Johnson has had a rocky start to the 2019-20 season, and it looks like that may spill over into the regular season.
After being banished by the team early in preseason training due to not meeting the team’s conditioning requirements, it now looks as though he will be inactive for the Heat’s season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Heat forward James Johnson is still unsure whether he will be on the active roster for Wednesday’s opener against the Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena,” Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reported.
“Johnson, who has served as one of the Heat’s captains in each of the past two seasons, was away from the team for the first 10 days of training camp and the preseason after failing to meet the Heat’s conditioning requirements. He returned to the team on Oct. 11 and has been a part of practices, but did not play in any of the five preseason games despite being available for the final three.”
Johnson himself offered a slight update, admitting that he’s gotten no indication one way or another regarding his game status.
“No indications yet,” Johnson said following Tuesday’s practice when asked if he has been told whether he will be on the active roster for the opener. “But I’m still not at the goal that we spoke about. We’re going to get there and see if I can get there by tomorrow.”
Luckily, one thing Johnson was able to speak on was his progress in attaining the team’s fitness goals.
“I’m right there,” Johnson said Sunday. “After that, it’s all up to the coaches and the coaching staff of when I’m really going to get back. But I’m right there, man. I got a little bit more to push.”
It looks like Johnson harbors no ill will towards the Heat and recognizes that he must meet team standards before he gets to return to playing the game he loves.
Hopefully, he is ready to the take the court soon. While Johnson had something of a down year statistically last season, there is no doubt that his grit and toughness have both been quite valuable to the Heat over the past few seasons.