Heat’s James Johnson undergoes offseason surgery for sports hernia

Miami Heat’s James Johnson (16) and Josh Richardson (0) react during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

MIAMI — James Johnson doesn’t mind playing through pain, and he did it in several games this past season.

On Monday, the Heat confirmed Johnson underwent surgery for a sports hernia following the Heat’s first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Sixers. Yahoo Sports first reported the news.

The injury is “something that was bothering him through the season” and Johnson is expected to make a full recovery “over the next few weeks,” according to a source. This represents a detail to help explain an up-and-down season for the Heat forward.

In the first year of the four-year, $60 million free-agent contract he signed with the Heat last July, Johnson averaged 10.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 73 regular-season games. The 31-year-old missed nine games, six of them because of right ankle bursitis.

While Johnson’s season averages were solid, inconsistency was an issue and he lacked his usual explosiveness at times. He scored fewer than 10 points in 34 games this past season.

A sports hernia is a painful, soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area and it most often occurs during sports that require sudden changes of direction or intense twisting movements, according to OrthoInfo. The website says that most athletes are able to return six to 12 weeks after surgery, and the Heat expect Johnson to be ready for the start of training camp in September.

Johnson is set to earn $14.7 million next season. He averaged 12.4 points on 54.8 shooting in the Heat’s five playoff games.

Johnson is the second Heat player to undergo an offseason procedure this year, with guard Tyler Johnson undergoing thumb surgery on April 30 that is expected to keep him in a cast for six weeks.

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