Johnson had surgery in May for a sports hernia that he suffered at the end of January. He remains hopeful that he’ll be ready for the October 17 season opener, but that depends on his medical progress.
“My goal would be be back before that first game, try to get a couple preseason games in,” Johnson said. “… I am not going to push nothing I’m not supposed to push. A setback would be the same as going back for surgery, I believe.”
Asked about being cleared for contact drills, Johnson responded, “I wish I knew the answer to that. I can’t veer off from this path they’ve got us on. I have to stay humbled and stay patient.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra described Johnson’s condition as close to 100% and said he will be participating in every practice, although his level of involvement will be determined by the medical staff.
Johnson elected not to tell the Heat about the injury when it occurred because he was concerned he might be sidelined for the rest of the season. He opted to play through the pain and address it once the team was eliminated from the playoffs.
“I thought it was just a strain,” he said. “I didn’t know what to call it. At first it wasn’t even that terrible. As the season went on, a little bit of my abilities started to go with it.”
Miami already faces the prospect of starting the season without Dion Waiters, who is recovering from ankle surgery in January. He was given an eight- to 10-month recovery prognosis, which could put his return in late November.
“He didn’t have a setback,” Spoelstra said of Waiters. “He’s actually on course. Everybody’s body is different. He’s been working all summer. You probably noticed his Instagram posts, that’s how everybody follows players now. It hasn’t been like he hasn’t been working. It’s on course. He’ll be back when his body tells him that he can be back.
“The thing I’m encouraged by is he’s able to work, he’s on the court, he’s able to do stuff. He won’t be able to participate in the type of training camp that we’re going to be starting with. But we’ll continue to monitor him. He’ll be with us.”