Former North Carolina standout and Los Angeles Clippers’ forward, Brice Johnson, has a herniated disc in his back and will be out indefinitely, according to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
Los Angeles selected Johnson with the No. 25 overall pick in the latest NBA Draft. The club also picked up fellow big man Diamond Stone, a former star for the Maryland Terrapins following a lone season with the school. Head coach Doc Rivers had been adamant on the pair of rookies – or at least one of them – to make an impact for the Clippers early on.
“I’ve not met a coach yet that won’t play the players to help them win. If one of those two can break through, I’m all for it,” Rivers told the Orange County Register. “I’m not going to hold them back. And, I think, I don’t know if it’ll be early, but one of them has a chance.”
Johnson used his offensive prowess (61.4 percent shooting) during last season’s championship run, in which the Tar Heels were ousted by the Villanova Wildcats on a buzzer-beater. The forward did say during media day, however, that he was planning to use his defense and rebounding as two of the primary ways to get on the floor quicker with the Clippers.
Rivers led his team to a 53-29 record during the 2015-2016 regular season before being edged in six games during the first-round of the postseason. Rivers has guided his teams – the Clippers and Boston Celtics – to nine consecutive playoff appearances.