Nets’ Cam Thomas, Dennis Smith Jr. ruled out Tuesday against Raptors

Nets’ Cam Thomas, Dennis Smith Jr. ruled out Tuesday against Raptors

Nets guards Cam Thomas and Dennis Smith Jr. were once again ruled out ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center.

It was Thomas’ ninth straight absence because of an ankle injury, while Smith missed his fifth straight contest because of a back injury. However, both guards were seen on the practice court during shootaround on Tuesday, and head coach Jacque Vaughn said they are both inching closer to returning to the court.

“Dennis and Cam Thomas both kind of played in some simulated [scenarios] versus other teammates,” Vaughn said. “It’s kind of tough on a game day a little bit… but some sort of simulated, as much as we can do on a game day, 4v4, 5v5, full court. So they’re both trending in [the right] direction and hopefully playing with us soon.”

Thomas, 22, has averaged a team-high 26.9 points per game across eight appearances this season. Smith’s 3.2 assists per game as a reserve is tied with Royce O’Neale for fourth on the Nets.

CRAMPING ISSUE

Cam Johnson did not finish recent games against Miami and Chicago because of an apparent cramping issue. When asked about the problem at Nets shootaround on Tuesday, the forward insisted that it is a minor situation, and that there is no reason to be concerned.

However, Vaughn and his staff seem to think that there is something more significant going on with Johnson and will monitor him more closely going forward. Until the issue is resolved, Johnson is expected to play reduced minutes.

“I’m definitely going to be cognizant of that,” Vaughn said. “I think the big piece is, it is on our radar, the fact that he has cramped up. We’re trying to do things behind the scenes to hopefully that doesn’t happen again. But you’ll probably see shorter stints and shorter minutes from him, in all honesty, just as I take a pulse of how he’s playing. I’ll have a conversation throughout the night with him to see how I feel. But yes, it’s on our radar.”

Johnson, one of Brooklyn’s marquee 3-point threats, missed all of preseason with a mild hamstring strain after signing a four-year, $94 million extension in the offseason. He then missed seven games from Oct. 27 to Nov. 8 because of a calf strain suffered in the season opener.

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