Melvin Johnson doubtful for Rams

SAN DIEGO -- Melvin Johnson, who averages 10.4 points per game and shoots 39.5 percent from beyond the arc, is not expected to play during No. 5-seed Virginia Commonwealth's Friday matchup against No. 12 Stephen F. Austin, coach Shaka Smart said.

Johnson is still recovering from a sprained knee he suffered Saturday during a win over George Washington in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

"He's doubtful for tomorrow," Smart said Thursday. "We practiced earlier. He moved around a little bit and he can shoot, which is the best thing he does anyway, so maybe we will put him in the game and let him stay on one end of the floor and shoot. But he's not ready to move the way he needs to move yet to play, especially with our style of play."

Johnson, a sophomore from New York, is the best 3-point shooter on the team. He can extend the floor, and he's beneficial to a VCU defensive attack that forces more turnovers per possession than any other team in the country, according to kenpom.com.

Stephen F. Austin has been touted as a possible Cinderella this postseason. The Lumberjacks have won 28 games in a row.

Smart said he's counting on other players to fill the gaps with Johnson likely absent in his program's second-round matchup.

"He means a lot to our team, and without him, we lose a guy who has scored a lot of points and a lot of 3s, and without him, you have to have guys step up," Smart said. "And I think we have some guys on the team ready to do that."