If the Nets need a big shot late in the game, they will not be diagramming a play for Joe Johnson.
Johnson missed his first game of the season against Houston with a sore left heel general manager Billy King said was caused by plantar fasciitis. Johnson was not at the team’s morning shootaround. King said the injury flared up after Johnson shot 3-of-14 and scored eight points in Wednesday’s 97-94 win at Milwaukee.
“They said a sore heel, but it’s the same thing,” King said. “It’s just plantar fasciitis.”
King said this was the first time Johnson had experienced this issue and he would have been active if this was a playoff game.
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the foot, which can be caused by the wear and tear of constantly running up and down the court and the injury time varies. For example, New York Knicks center Marcus Camby has missed two and a half months with the injury.
However, speaking on ESPN Radio earlier Friday, King categorized the injury as minor and anticipated Johnson will play Sunday against Memphis.
“It’s better than it was two days ago,” King said. “They’ve got him on medication and I expect him to be better tomorrow and we’ll see how it is Sunday.
"If it's still tender and sore, we may keep him out, because it's a marathon we're trying to finish, not a sprint."
Johnson has not missed a game since missing six of seven games for Atlanta from Feb. 22-March 7 with left knee tendinitis.
C.J. Watson, who is five inches shorter, started for Johnson. He also started twice in place of Deron Williams in the final two games before the All-Star break.
“It will be concern for two obvious reasons,” interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “One, he’s such a good player, and two, I think we play him so many minutes, so it’s the same thing with Deron. He’s such a crucial player and to sit him out is going to have an impact on our team.”
Williams gets cortisone shots
A cortisone shot is one of the most common anti-inflammatory treatments in sports and for Williams it is being used to help him cope with the ankle issues that have bothered him this season.
He had cortisone shots in both ankles on Thursday after playing 78 minutes in back-to-back wins over Milwaukee the previous two nights.
It also was not the first time cortisone has been injected into Williams’s ankles. Williams said he had an injection before the season opener in late-October and again in late-December.
The ankles have bothered Williams since playing in the summer Olympics and besides rest the other solution is offseason surgery. Though the Nets can monitor his minutes, especially after Carlesimo said on ESPN Radio Thursday the point guard is not 100 percent, Williams does not want to shut it down.
“I mean, I've gotten frustrated some nights where I can't do anything, can't go anywhere, and it's frustrating and that's how you want to think, but I can't do that," Williams said to reporters at the morning shootaround in East Rutherford, N.J.
Besides inflammation and a bone spur, Williams has not had an extensive break in a while. He played in Turkey during the lockout, played 55 games last season and then 145 minutes in eight Olympic Games in London.
“The problem was I haven't had a break in a long time," Williams said. "I was doing plyometrics, box jumps this summer for the first time. I lifted heavier than I've ever lifted, and so I think all the wear and tear is what's caused the inflammation and I haven't had a break to get it out. It's just gotten worse and worse. It didn't feel as bad because I wasn't playing back-to-backs and four in five nights, then we got to the season [and] it just kept getting worse and worse because you have less and less rest."
King talks trade deadline
King spent most of the trade deadline fielding phone calls from other general managers, which was a change from the previous two years when conversations with Portland and Utah led to the trades for Gerald Wallace and Williams.
King reiterated that the 10 percent chance of him making a deal remained the same and that he enjoyed seeing the rumors linking the Nets to players such as Josh Smith and Ben Gordon.
The only move King can now make is to sign a player who gets waived by March 1. King hinted that the Nets may use their open roster spot on a veteran or on a young player for developmental purposes.
One player that was never considered was Kenyon Martin, the former Net forward who signed a 10-day contract with the Knicks Thursday.
“If you look at it, we have five big guys and we can barely get enough minutes as it is now,” King said.
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.