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James
05-27-2005, 09:03 AM
Just when the Suns need him. He is going to wear a mask, i wonder if the masked man will help his team like the masked Rip Hamilton did last year.


PHOENIX -- Wearing a mask to protect his fractured left eye socket, Phoenix Suns guard Joe Johnson went through a full practice on Thursday and said he expects to play in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against San Antonio.

"As of right now, I don't think there's anything that could keep me off the court," Johnson said of Saturday's game, "but I don't want to speak too soon because anything could happen."

The workout, which included a scrimmage, was his first complete practice since he was injured in a face-first crash to the floor in Game 2 of the conference semifinals against Dallas on May 11. Johnson did some 2-on-2 drills on Wednesday to help him get used to the mask.

He still has to clear a doctor's evaluation on Friday before getting the official go-ahead, but he said he felt good after the practice.

Before his injury, Johnson had played in every game since being traded to the Suns in his rookie season, a span of 281 contests.

"It was tough. It was my first time," he said of having to watch the six games in street clothes. "I'm more nervous sitting over there watching than when I'm out there playing because I can't do anything."

Johnson's return would be a welcome lift for a Suns team that goes to San Antonio down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Phoenix would be able to send Jim Jackson to the bench, giving the depth-shy squad a much-needed scorer in reserve.

The 6-foot-7 Johnson, meanwhile, is the Suns' best perimeter defender and most accurate 3-point shooter. He also gives the team another scorer who can develop his own shot off the dribble when the offense breaks down.

"We get back to the team that had the best record in the league," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're pretty happy about that. We know the hole we're in and how tough it's going to be, but we're also a very confident team. We think we can go back there and give it our best shot."

There would be "a domino effect" in Johnson's return, D'Antoni said, including the opportunity to give Steve Nash longer breaks. Nash played 46 minutes in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

"It's going to change a lot," San Antonio's Robert Horry said. "It gives them more depth. He can also run point, which gives Steve a little more time to rest. That's going to be key."

Johnson underwent surgery the day after he was injured to have three metal plates inserted in his left cheek to hold the broken bone in place.

The left side of Johnson's left eye is still blood red, but he said his vision is fine. He also is getting comfortable wearing the mask.

"I think it will be a challenge but I don't think it's going to bother me none," Johnson said. "The sweat just dripping down my face, other than that, I think I'll be great."

Johnson said his most immediate impact should be on defense, where he will usually guard the Spurs' point man Tony Parker.

"I just want to make it tough on him," Johnson said. "He hurt us by getting in the lane and shooting those floaters. By putting a bigger person on him, maybe he won't get so many easy shots."

D'Antoni said the doctors have told him that, as long as he's wearing the mask, Johnson's risk for injuring the eye socket is no greater than it was before he was hurt.

To test the mask's strength, Suns trainer Aaron Nelson slapped Johnson in the head a few times.

"I didn't really appreciate that either," Johnson deadpanned. "He hit me a few times. Don't bring that up because it kind of gets to me."

Johnson said he won't be timid when he takes the court and welcomes any attempt by the Spurs to test him.

"I'm not going to worry about anybody hitting me in the face or anything like that," Johnson said. "I'm just going to go out there and play."

Source (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2005/news/story?id=2069467)

Glen Infante
05-27-2005, 10:46 AM
Well being down 0-2, the Suns are going to need all the help they can get. Good to see Joe back.

The Disector
05-27-2005, 01:17 PM
Doesn't really matter because the series is over and Jim Jackson(playing in Johnson's place) has been that teams best wing player this off season anyway.

Glen Infante
05-27-2005, 09:48 PM
Yeah, the next two games are at San Antonio. We may be looking at a clean sweep against the Suns.

Rudeboy
06-03-2009, 10:26 PM
i dink we sood trade ben and b00bs for da joe

PIP
06-03-2009, 10:28 PM
Yikes... You must not have known and now it's too late...

If you post in an original 2005 thread, your account is automatically banned by the system...(Unless you're a MOD)

Tough break..

LeBronMVP
06-04-2009, 04:27 AM
Ain't this a bitch! :thumbup: