Damian Johnson has successful surgery on broken hand

Junior forward Damian Johnson underwent successful surgery on his fractured non-shooting hand Tuesday, and is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks of basketball, team spokesman Matt Slieter said. Johnson fractured his left hand in practice Monday. Dr. Pat Putnam, University of Minnesota hand specialist, performed the surgery, Slieter said. Johnson led the team in blocked shots (46) as a bench player last year , was second in steals (59) and averaged 7.1 points per game. Head coach Tubby Smith described him as a âÄúface-the-basket, shoot-the-jumperâÄù kind of player Friday, before the injury. Smith said Johnson would be one-of-five interchangeable parts for the power forward and center positions . He would compete against freshmen Colton Iverson , Ralph Sampson III and Paul Carter , as well as senior Jonathan Williams . The Gophers have one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the Big Ten this season, with the exception of a Dec. 20 game against Louisville , which Johnson would be back well in time for, according to MinnesotaâÄôs timetable. Assuming the timetable is correct, he would miss home games against Division II Concordia-St. Paul, Bowling Green and Georgia State. He could also miss the teamâÄôs first away game, at Division II Colorado State, and home games against Eastern Washington and North Dakota State. Six weeks from Tuesday the Gophers play Virginia at home . âÄúWe try to build our schedule and program that way,âÄù Smith said Friday. âÄúThereâÄôs a certain way you build your program. You donâÄôt throw them under the bus or into the fire, you bring them along so they can learn and grow.âÄù And heal.