If Cam Johnson is running out of time, who needs to step in more?

An ugly loss to the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night was the least of the Phoenix Suns’ worries.

Fourth-year forward Cam Johnson suffered a seemingly non-contact injury midway through the first quarter.

The Suns announced shortly after that he would not return due to the right knee injury.

Since then, there have been no media reports, but Flex From Jersey relayed this information from its sources. No one else has reported the severity or speculated what his injury might be at this stage, so in the meantime we’ll wait for further confirmation.

Although it can always be worse, it still stings.

If this report is indeed true, it would be a blow to a Suns team that is already thin on wing/forward depth due to the Jae Crowder situation.

Johnson is set to enter restricted free agency this summer, so his decision on how he would handle a torn meniscus would likely be with that in mind for long-term contract security.

It’s a tough bet to go for the accelerated recovery, because if he rushes and injures the same knee again, it could seriously damage his stock in the long run.

The timing is extremely unfortunate, as Cam had just won one of the best games of his young career on Tuesday night.

Who needs the most progress?

The first obvious answer that comes to mind is Mikal Bridges. He already has a lot to do, but for the Suns to thrive without Cam, Mikal will have to have be more aggressive offensively.

However, the answer is not as simple as a single player. This will have to be done in committee.

Damion Lee will surely get a boost in minutes as he is a reliable wing defender and a veteran Monty trusts. He doesn’t move the needle, but the hope is he can eat those minutes without killing you.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns

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Torrey Craig fits that same Bill (as Lee) into a different role as a player who must do what he does without causing harm. His shooting gaps have been a pleasant surprise this season, so hopefully he continues to shoot with confidence over the next few weeks as they will need it all.

Josh Okgie will probably have the opportunity to prove himself as well. Although he mostly sucks on offense, his defense and athleticism could provide an occasional spark for the Suns’ second unit.

Dario Saric could also be a dark horse candidate to get more minutes if Cam misses a significant time. Four-position options are quite limited, so be on the lookout for more frequent big-two lineups in the absence of Cam.

If the Suns can get increased production from these guys across the board, they should be just fine. It might not be the 64-win Suns we’re looking at without Cam and Jae, but they’ll still be competitive.

We should hear more about the details of his injury and his potential schedule in the coming days, but at this point, it seems certain that Phoenix will be without Cam Johnson for the next few weeks, unfortunately.

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