Fourth-year forward Cam Johnson went down with an apparent non-contact injury midway through the first quarter.
Cam Johnson is out for the rest of the game with a knee injury after he went to the locker room midway through the first quarter. Here is what Al McCoy and Tim Kempton saw. pic.twitter.com/FimLYvpyOz— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) November 5, 2022
The Suns shortly thereafter announced that he would not be returning to the game due to that right knee injury.
INJURY UPDATE: Cam Johnson (right knee) will not return tonight.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 5, 2022
Since then, there haven’t been any reports from the media, but Flex From Jersey relayed this information from his sources. No one else has reported on the severity or speculated what his injury could be at this point, so in the meantime, we’ll be awaiting further confirmation.
While it could always be worse, this still stings.
Still waiting on confirmation but I'm told the Suns believe Cam Johnson tore his meniscus. Meniscus injuries are treated 2 ways. You can snip it and come back in 2-6 weeks or repair it and come back in 2-6 months. It all depends on how much is torn, area, age, and future impact.— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) November 5, 2022
If this report is indeed true, it would be a massive blow to a Suns team that is already thin on wing/forward depth due to the Jae Crowder situation.
Johnson is set to enter restricted free agency this summer, so his decision on how he’d handle a torn meniscus would likely be with that in mind for long-term contract security.
It’s a tough gamble to go for the expedited recovery because if he rushes and re-injures that same knee, it could significantly damage his long-term stock.
The timing is extremely unfortunate, as Cam was coming off one of the best games of his young career on Tuesday night.
Who needs to step up the most?
The obvious first answer that comes to mind is Mikal Bridges. He already has a lot on his plate, but for the Suns to thrive without Cam, Mikal will have to be more aggressive offensively.
However, the answer is not as simple as just one player stepping up. It will have to be done by committee.
Damion Lee is surely going to get a boost in minutes since he is a reliable wing defender and veteran that Monty trusts. He doesn’t move the needle, but the hope is he can eat those minutes without killing you.
Torrey Craig fits that same bill (as Lee) in a different role as a player that needs to do what he does without causing harm. His shooting splits have been a pleasant surprise this season, so hopefully, he continues to shoot with confidence over the next few weeks, because they’ll need every bit of it.
Josh Okogie will likely get an opportunity to prove himself as well. While he is mostly a zero on offense, his defense and athleticism could provide an occasional spark to the Suns second unit.
Dario Saric could also be a dark horse candidate to get more minutes if Cam misses significant time. The options at the four position are fairly limited, so be on the lookout for more frequent two-big lineups in Cam’s absence.
If the Suns can get some increased production from these guys across the board, they should be just fine. It may not be the 64-win pace Suns we watch without Cam and Jae, but they will remain competitive.
We should learn more about the specifics of what his injury and potential timetable look like in the coming days, but at this point, it seems certain Phoenix will be without Cam Johnson for the next several weeks, unfortunately.