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James Johnson is considered to be a versatile player.
Possessor of a solid, all-around offensive game and a tough-guy, nose-to-the-grindstone mindset on the defensive end of the floor, the Miami Heat forward has plenty in his NBA toolbox.
So the sports hernia surgery the 6-foot-9, 250-pound Johnson had back in May won’t stop him from being ready for training camp, according to his agent.
“It’s something that he played through last year and it affected him for sure,” agent Mark Bartelstein told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “They don’t come any tougher than James. His pain threshold is unlike anyone I’ve seen.”
Johnson, whose name has popped up recently in trade rumors, averaged 10.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists, while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent from the 3-point line in 73 games last season.
Then a five-game, opening-round playoff loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Johnson posted numbers of 12.4 points, 6.0 boards, 4.8 dimes, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocked shots in 32.2 minutes, shooting 54.8 percent from the field, 53.8 percent from deep and 64.3 percent from the free-throw line. All of the numbers, save for the percentage from the charity stripe, represented career postseason-bests for Johnson.
In Game 4 of the series, true to his reputation, Johnson seemingly wanted to take on the entire Philadelphia team after 76er Robert Covington shoved Heat point guard Goran Dragic to the floor when Dragic drove to the hoop. Johnson first went after Covington, then after Philly’s Ben Simmons came to Covington’s defense, Johnson turned to him.
Johnson underwent the surgery to repair the sports hernia shortly after Miami was eliminated by Philadelphia.
The Heat signed Johnson to a four-year, $60 million contract after he averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 boards and 3.6 assists, shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 34.0 percent from deep in the 2016-17 season.
Johnson, 31, was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Chicago Bulls out of Wake Forest and is expected to be ready when Miami opens training camp.
The nine-year NBA veteran will carry career averages of 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 547 games (186 starts) in 20.7 minutes into this season. He has a career shooting line of 48.1/29.9/69.4.