Johnson's size inside will be a big loss for the 'Canes against an undersized Marquette team. (Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated)
WASHINGTON D.C. -- No. 2 Miami will be without one of its key players when it faces No. 3 Marquette in the Round of 16 on Thursday night. Part-time starter Reggie Johnson is not traveling with the team to Washington D.C. this weekend and will not play because of a “lower extremity injury,” the school announced on Wednesday.
Johnson, a 6-foot-10, 292-pound center, averages 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for Miami. And while his statistics may not be overwhelming, he’s a key piece for the Hurricanes as a space eater and defensive presence in the middle.
Johnson went scoreless in 18 minutes against Illinois in the Round of 32, but did grab five rebounds. He scored seven points and had 10 rebounds against Pacific in Miami’s blowout win in their tournament opener.
The Hurricanes are used to playing without Johnson. He broke his thumb in December and missed eight games because of the injury. Miami went 6-2 in that stretch with losses to Indiana State and Arizona and victories over LaSalle and at North Carolina.
Johnson’s injury led to the emergence of Julian Gamble, a 6-foot-10 center who will likely see increased time in Johnson’s absence. Gamble had 11 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes in the ACC title game against North Carolina.