Johnson had torn cartilage removed from his left knee in an arthroscopic procedure Wednesday, his agent said yesterday. "He'll be ready to play in an NBA game in six weeks," said Johnson's agent, Boston-based Mitch Frankel.
The operation was performed by Detroit area surgeon Robert Teitge.
Does the operation affect or alter the Celtics' plans?
"It certainly affects our timetable," said general manager Jan Volk, who got the news yesterday. "We had hoped to have Vinnie here pretty soon. That's not going to be the case. Now we have to educate ourselves on the prognosis for a recovery, which we will do shortly. We are still hoping to have Vinnie be a part of our team."
According to Frankel, Johnson had experienced pain in the knee during the playoffs, but was told rest and therapy should be sufficient.
"He had an MRI a while back and it just didn't seem that serious," Frankel said. "Then he felt some pain playing the other day and we went to a doctor and he said, 'Yes, it is serious.' It came as a surprise to both of us. He'd spent the last three weeks in therapy and we didn't think he'd need it."'
Volk said Frankel had been forthright about Johnson's knee and had even shared the Magnetic Resonance Imaging results with the Celtics. "We knew he had suffered the knee injury against Chicago, but this news still was a bit of a surprise," Volk said.
The Knicks and Rockets also have shown interest in the 35-year-old Johnson, who was waived last month by the Pistons.
Shaw, McHale sidelined
The Celtics will be without Brian Shaw (knee) and Kevin McHale (foot) for tonight's exhibition opener against the Lakers at the Garden. John Bagley missed yesterday's practice with a left eye infection and coach Chris Ford said he doesn't expect Bagley for tonight's game or tomorrow's Celtics-Lakers game at the Centrum. Shaw won't be able to practice until Monday at the earliest, trainer Ed Lacerte said. McHale is out for an unknown period, but will be available to tape a "Cheers" segment tonight . . . The Lakers will leave for Paris following these two games, where they will endeavor to uphold the NBA's honor and unblemished record in the McDonald's Open. Because of the tournament, LA had a jump on training camp. "We've had a week. They've had 10 or 11 days. It makes a difference," Ford said. The coach said he plans to give everyone a chance, and that includes Larry Bird, though there is no set game plan for No. 33.