David Johnson dazzled in a spectacular first half in Louisville’s win over third-ranked Duke at Durham, NC (Photo by Adam Creech, UofL).

How’s the shoulder?

The question, repeated often immediately following the University of Louisville basketball team’s game against Duke, was how David Johnson was doing. The UofL coaching staff and the entire fan base holding its collective breath for the answer. Bettors keeping their eyes on the college basketball line movement to see if the injury will impact the spread.

Yeah, the left shoulder, the one that underwent an operation in late July, causing him to miss the next four months. Just recently working his way back into the game. The one he twisted and awkwardly collapsed on, grimacing in pain with 3:25 on the clock against Duke.

Too good to be true, Johnson putting on one of the most complete all-around games for a UofL point guard in recent memory. The 6-foot-5 freshman would enter the game at the 15:11 mark and score 17 points, make four assists, two blocks and a steal and a 10-point Louisville lead at the half.

For the game, he would wind up with 19 points,  two dunks, one 3-pointer, seven assists, four rebounds, two blocks and three steals.  An amazing performance, all the way back, strong and dominating. Exactly what Louisville needs, especially on nights when Jordan Nwora is not at his best, Nwora being held to six points.

The missing link if ever there was one. So how’s that shoulder, David Johnson?

“I feel fine,” he told reporters in the locker room. “It was just a little bump and bruise. It kind of scared me a little bit. I’ve been a little cautious since coming back and I’m still working on getting stronger.”

What he really wanted to talk about playing against Duke before 9,314 crazies at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “People talk about crazy experiences playing in here,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. You don’t really get to experience it until you play. It’s a tough place to play. It was a big win.”

With Johnson at full strength, Louisville is a much stronger team, with a tall, talented, elusive and savvy point guard directing the offense. He seems to be as much as ease running the show as he is in attacking the basket. Great news for a UofL team winning four straight games, including three on the road.

UofL is now 15-3 overall and 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with possibly a whole new outlook for the 2019-20 season. Much at stake pending on the outcome of an MRI on Johnson’s shoulder on Monday. 

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

3 thoughts on “David Johnson says he’s fine, Duke has to agree

  • January 20, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Seems like his shoulder’s gonna be okay.

    We need to temper expectations as not to be unfair with D.J., however.

    I remember when VJ dropped 20 something against Virginia and he was destined to be the next great thing…

    • January 20, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      All good points, Mr. Porkins. Lots of exuberance because it has been a while since UofL fans have seen such dominance from one player. Not since Darrell Griffith, in fact, and half of the fan base never saw him play.

  • January 21, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    I think I might throw the names of Preston Knowles, Kyle Kuric, and Russdiculous into this discussion. Fans found much to enjoy watching them, and they did a lot to help their teams succeed. Jury is still out on DJ. Go Cards!

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