Larry Johnson, who was expected to miss up to eight weeks with yet another injury, doesn't have a stress fracture in his foot after all and may be ready for Charlotte's season-opener.
The former all-star forward was re-examined Sunday by the Hornets' team physician after suffering an injury in last Tuesday's game against Golden State on the team's week-long European tour.
An MRI exam showed he only had a sprain in the joint of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, said team spokesman Harold Kaufman. The fourth-year player from UNLV will have the cast on his foot removed Friday, and rehabilitation will begin soon after, Kaufman said.
There's a good chance Johnson will be available for the Nov. 4 game in Chicago.
"He is ecstatic," Kaufman said. "He realizes he now may open up the season playing."
Johnson was removed from the Golden State game in Paris after complaining of soreness in his foot. The 6-foot-7 Johnson missed 31 games last season with a deep lower back sprain.
The Hornets, who have only beaten an Italian team in three exhibition games, also have Alonzo Mourning, who missed 21 games last year to injuries, walking around in a cast. He has a strained flexor tendon in the big toe of his right foot, but should be ready for the opener.
The Hornets, who play three games in four nights beginning today against Detroit at Charlotte Coliseum, just returned to the United States on Saturday.
Around the league
Hawks 103, Heat 99: Stacey Augmon scored 22 points and hit a short hook shot with 1:25 remaining Sunday to lead Atlanta to an exhibition victory at San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Augmon's shot broke a tie at 99 and he followed with two foul shots for the Hawks (2-2). Kevin Willis scored 22 points and had 13 rebounds.
Miami (3-3) was led by Glen Rice's 20 points and Bimbo Coles' 14. The Heat committed eight turnovers in the fourth quarter, including four in a row in the final two minutes.