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Johnson switches shoes, hoping to relieve foot pain

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Stanley Johnson wore these yellow Nike shows on Saturday night against the 76ers.

Auburn Hills – Pistons forward Stanley Johnson sat out the second half of Saturday’s exhibition against the Philadelphia 76ers and didn’t play in Monday’s exhibition against the Milwaukee Bucks due to foot pain.

The second-year pro had an MRI and CAT scan, but both came back clear and revealed nothing.

So what’s ailing him?

According to coach Stan Van Gundy, the root of the problem could be Johnson’s Kobe Bryant footwear.

"Really they think it's coming from the shoes he's wearing,” Van Gundy said following the Pistons’ 102-78 win over the Bucks. “But Stanley, who is not the least bit hard-headed, wants to continue to wear those shoes because they're really comfortable.

“I said, 'They're comfortable? Like, you're in pain because you're playing.' So you know, God bless him at 20 years old but it would seem to me that when the doctor tells you the shoes are the problem that you would change shoes.”

And Johnson has. He ditched the Kobes for a pair of black Nikes at Tuesday’s practice.

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“I mean wear a bunch of shoes anyway. It’s not like one of those situations where I'm not accustomed to wearing new shoes,” Johnson said. “I think the Kobe … it's so thin. I wore it all my life, so I guess now it's time for a change. We'll see how it works.

“I have a trillion pairs of Nikes, so I'm not really worried about switching shoes. It's not a big deal for me."

Johnson said the tendons in his foot had a little bit of swelling and it “felt better than it has” following practice.

Johnson added the pain started cropping up toward the end of training camp when he would try to accelerate and take off, but he tried to play through it.

“In the game in Philly I felt it tighten up on the move, so I just decided to step out of the game because I wasn't being myself,” Johnson said. “I think last year I learned a lesson with hurting my shoulder. I came back and wasn't myself and I played like (stuff).

“So you don't want to play in an NBA game if you can't do the things you normally do or at least 90 percent of what you can do. You don't want to be out there 70 or 80 percent and not help your team."

Johnson said he expects himself and Marcus Morris to spell Tobias Harris, who has played in all five exhibitions, and receive extended minutes in Wednesday’s exhibition finale against the Raptors.

"Honestly, it's about regular season. Preseason is awesome but I think I prepare myself for the regular season,” Johnson said. “I think tomorrow (Van Gundy’s) definitely going to play me and Marcus because he played Tobias all preseason and he needs a break. Marcus has played little to none and I've played little to none. It'll be good for us to get some run in tomorrow."

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter @jamesbhawkins