Forward James Johnson was the latest victim of the Heat's strict conditioning standards when he was sent home from training camp two days ago for not being in shape. Per Ira Winderman, the forward has returned to the team and is working o getting back into playing condition.
James Johnson has resumed conditioning work at the team's facilities at AmericanAirlines Arena, according to a party familiar with the forward's time away from the Heat.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 4, 2019
The Heat is well known for its uncompromising conditioning culture. Multiple NBA players have praised (and lamented) the team's rigorous workouts and emphasis on players being in game shape at all times.
When questioned about his fitness earlier in the week, Johnson seemed to think he was ready to go, saying:
“I feel good. Mentally, unstressed. I feel healthy. That's the main concern… Strength wise, I feel great. And I'm explosive. Condition wise, I feel great. … Definitively, it's time for me to get back to where I was.”
Obviously, the team did not agree with him.
The Heat will need Johnson to reach an acceptable fitness level quickly. The ten-year veteran has spent the last three seasons in Miami and been an important piece to a previously star-less franchise.
Over 55 games last season, Johnson averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He became the Heat's defensive Swiss army knife, capable of matching up with quick guards and holding his own with heavier and lengthier forwards.
Hopefully, Johnson can drop the extra pounds and go back to being a key contributor for a team looking to bounce back and make a postseason appearance this season.