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December 7, 2012
Johnson struggling through injuries
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Russell Johnson just can't catch a break.
After playing with injuries throughout last season, including a thumb injury that almost ended his year in January, the senior forward has already been bruised up just weeks into the 2012-2013 season.
Johnson missed the first three games with an ankle injury, and RMU's past game at Campbell with back and ankle problems. With this said, the senior refuses to let these injuries affect his confidence, and is pushing hard to get back on the court.
"I'm a little sore right now. I tweaked a few things, it has been bothering me a little more lately," Johnson said. "But I'm just working to get it back."
Last season Johnson shot 41.9 percent from the field, and 31.4 percent from three. He is off to a slow start this season, shooting just 24.2 percent from the floor, and just 1-of-12 from three. Johnson noted that he has struggled to get into rhythm this season because of the missed time.
"I mean yeah, it's tough," he said. "My ankle is still bothering me, and when I try to do certain things, my ankle stops me right there, but I'll keep fighting and pushing through it."
Johnson understands that his jumper isn't where it needs to be at, and has taken it upon himself to be much more aggressive, and get to the free throw line.
"If your shot isn't falling, you have to find ways to put the ball in the basket, and the easiest thing is getting to the free throw line," he said.
Last season, Johnson shot 69 percent from the charity stripe. This year, the senior is 19-for-25, good for 76 percent.
As noted above, Johnson is just 1-12 from distance, but that one was a big shot. Leading by just four late against Ohio, RMU got a defensive stop that led to a transition opportunity. Johnson got the ball on the wing, and canned a three pushing RMU's lead to seven. MO< "I was wide open man, I knew this one had to go in," Johnson said with a smile on his face.
Coach Andrew Toole and Johnson himself are unsure of his status for Saturday's upcoming tilt at Hampton. Johnson is eager to get back on the court, but if he can't play, he is confident someone will step up in his absence.
"No matter who goes down, who's sick, who's not there the next day, this day, somebody has to step up," Johnson said.
One thing is for sure, RMU and Johnson particularly, are looking forward to the six day break from games next week due to finals. MO< "It's definitely going to help a whole lot, a whole lot," Johnson said.
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