Joe Johnson questionable vs. Portland Trailblazers ... and rest of the trip?

Bruce Bennett

When will Joe Johnson play again? Wednesday? Next week?

Joe Johnson was asked Tuesday if it's possible he might miss the rest of the Nets trip, vs. the Blazers, Jazz and Nuggets?

"I don't know, man, to be honest with you," said Johnson, who missed the Suns game and is questionable vs. Portland. The latest nagging injury for the 31-year-old is a right thigh contusion that swelled up after Saturday's Clipper game. There's also some question if he's completely healed from his heel problems which caused him to miss three games.

The Nets could use him vs. the Blazers who push the ball hard and have a young, energetic backcourt, led ty Damian Lillard, the likely rookie of the year who was taken with the pick the Nets gave up in the Gerald Wallace trade. It's a trade the Nets still stand by.

"We did whatever we did for I think good reasons and reasons that made sense then and make sense now," said P.J. Carlesimo, who of course had nothing to do with the trade. It did help the Nets get one of Carlesimo's other starters, Reggie Evans with a trade exception left over from the deal.

Lillard is averaging 19.1 points and 6.5 assists, and in March, he's been on a tear. In 13 games, he averaged 22.0 points, seven assists and shooting 49.3 percent overall and 47.2 percent from three. Considering that the last two point guards the Nets faced scored 60 points against them, both with big fourth quarters, that's worth worrying about.

LaMarcus Aldridge remains the Blazers leading scorer at 21 per, and J.J. Hickson, the 6'9" center, is averaging a double-double, 13.1 and 10.8. Still they play with a lack of consistency as you would expect from such a young team. They're 5-5 over the last 10 with wins over the Spurs, Knicks, Bulls and Hawks (thank you!) but losses to the 76ers and Hornets. On Sunday, they lost by 20 to the Thunder, but the game was closer than the final score let on. It's even possible that the Blazers could sneak into the playoffs. They're only two and a half behind the Lakers for eighth.

Other than Joe Johnson, the Nets will be without the services of Toko Shengelia and Tyshawn Taylor, still in Springfield. Portland is relatively healthy, with only VIctor Claver out.

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