This time it wasn't a tooth or a neck or a shoulder. This time the scene said all that needed to be said, with the Miami Heat player with arguably the highest pain tolerance taken off the court in Monday's third quarter in a wheelchair.
This time Tyler Johnson was unable to bounce back up, nor were the Heat, in a 119-111 loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
"It seems like it's never-ending unlucky occurrences," forward Kelly Olynyk said.
It was a night that ended with Johnson ailing and coach Erik Spoelstra angered.
The end of the Heat's seven-game winning streak stood secondary, with the entire Heat bench at Johnson's side along the far baseline as trainer Jay Sabol tended to Johnson's left ankle. Teammates then assisted him to the wheelchair.
"I was really worried because I’ve never seen Tyler stay down like that," guard Goran Dragic said.
The diagnosis was a sprained left ankle, with X-rays negative.
"It's actually the back of his foot, his ankle," Spoelstra said. "Everything was fine with that, so the first part of the news is he's relieved. We're all thinking worst, but we'll see if we can get an MRI tomorrow. Right now, he just has it wrapped in tape, so that's a good sign, as well. But we'll know more."
The Heat later said that no MRI is scheduled, with Johnson not made available for comment.
The fact that his team collapsed at the end of the first half and was unable to contain the Bulls' 3-point shooting had Spoelstra fuming at the finish.
"It was pretty disgusting basketball," Spoelstra said of the close of the first half. "We were up five and then all of a sudden we're going to the locker room and it's down seven."
As for the Bulls' 16-of-39 3-point shooting, Spoelstra had as little patience for the questioning as his players did to contest the shots.
"I don't know, what do you think I think, that we defended it well? No," Spoelstra said. "They lit us up."
Even before the Johnson injury setback, the Heat lacked the energy that had fueled so many of the recent victories, having defeated the Milwaukee Bucks a day earlier, with the Bulls idle on Sunday.
"We weren't communicating very well," forward Josh Richardson said. "And we were not giving them enough static on the 3-point line."
The challenge ultimately proved too much to overcome.
"We weren't playing hard enough," forward James Johnson said.
Forward Justin Holiday led the Bulls with 25 points, with Chicago guard Zach LaVine scoring 18 before sitting out the fourth quarter due to his 20-minute restriction in the wake of his return from knee surgery. Nikola Mirotic also scored 18 for the Bulls, with Lauri Markkanen adding 17.
Dragic, named earlier in the day NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, scored 22 for the Heat before fouling out with 31.2 seconds to play, with Olynyk scoring 21 and Wayne Ellington 20.
Spoelstra remained with James Johnson as his starting power forward in place of Olynyk.
The Heat also had forward Justise Winslow back in the rotation for the second consecutive game after missing the previous 14 with a strained left knee. He played 21:24 off the bench and now likely will be needed for more with Tyler Johnson ailing and Dion Waiters awaiting season-ending ankle surgery. Winslow closed with six points on 2-of-3 shooting, six rebounds and four assists as the fourth and final player off the Heat bench.
The Heat made a late push, with Olynyk trimming what had been a 19-point deficit to 101-93 with 5:01 to play. The Heat later would get within five with 3:39 to play, but no closer.
"Then they made bigger plays down the stretch," Spoelstra said.
The Heat mounted their comeback with center Hassan Whiteside again on the bench in the fourth quarter, with Chicago also going small at the finish.
"It's whatever Coach Spo wants," Whiteside said. "That's what Coach Spo wants to do, that's the lineup he wants to go with, Coach Spo, he thinks that's what he thinks is going to get us the win, I can't do nothing about it."
The Heat's uneven afternoon took a turn for the worse when Johnson went down after scoring with 7:31 to play in the third quarter on a collision with Bulls center Robin Lopez. Johnson then had to be assisted off the court into the wheelchair, unable to put pressure on his leg.
From that point, the Heat fell behind by 19 in the third period before going into the fourth within 84-82.
"I was scared," Richardson said of Johnson's injury. "You never want to see a guy whether it's on your team or the other team down like that. So really my first thought was, 'Go check on him,' and see if he was OK, see if he could walk, see how bad he thought it was. And they got him off and I talked to him when he was in here and he said he didn't know what was up."
James Johnson said Tyler Johnson was not overly worried in the locker room.
"Tyler's one of those guys that you never know," Johnson said. "He could have had a broken leg, and he still been sitting here making sure we were all good, making sure that our spirits were still high. But it's hard to read that guy."
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