Knee injuries are always a concern for athletes, representing different risks and recoveries. Cameron Johnson suffered an injured meniscus, which is particularly difficult to project before surgery. Whereas an ACL tear is an ACL tear and a player is likely to be out 6-9 months, the nature of the meniscus injuries is more difficult to predict, with players returning in as few as four weeks and others taking over a year to return.
3 Main approaches to fixing the meniscus
Unlike the ACL, where tears are grafted as part of ACL reconstruction surgery with the meniscus, there are options depending on the severity of the injury. Unfortunately, doctors do not know those options until they get into surgery, but fortunately, there are options.
In the worst-case scenario, a meniscus transplant leaves players anywhere from eight months to well over a year. That is the worst-case scenario, and players have anywhere from a 67%-86% chance of returning.
On the other end of the spectrum, in the best-case scenario, the meniscus is trimmed to remove any jagged edges, thus reducing the pain, in a partial meniscectomy. In these cases, recovery is seven to nine weeks, and most athletes fully recover.
Meniscus repairs take about six months to recover between the best and worst-case scenarios.
Johnson and the Suns appear to have the best-case scenario
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst report, Johnson will be out one-to-two months. Given the timetable for Johnson’s return being provided, this represents the best-case scenario in a difficult position.
In a perfect world, Johnson would not be injured, but he is, just like Jae Crowder would be with the team in a perfect world, but he is wherever he is.
Instead, the Suns will have to cope with life without Johnson or Crowder for at least 19 more games. Even if Johnson came back on the earliest possible timeline, playing before the home game against the Pelicans on December 17 seems unlikely.
If it takes Johnson a full two months, he could conceivably rejoin the team for the January road trip that begins on January 10th at Golden State. If that ends up being his return, the Suns have another 31 games, or 38% of the season, to cope without Johnson.
Given that things could have been far worse for both Johnson and the Suns, the 1-2 month window to return news counts as a win for now.