HAWKSVILLE – Hawks forward Josh Smith needed seven stitches to close a gash on his left hand between his index and middle fingers.
He suffered the injury on the Hawks’ practice court Tuesday while playing in a pickup game with several of his Hawks teammates and other pros in town working out in anticipation of training camp. Smith said he’ll be fine for the start of training camp Sept. 29, but he’ll spend the days leading up to that with his left hand heavily wrapped.
“It was a nasty gash,” Smith said Wednesday. “It was bad. I could see all the way through there. It was split open, like somebody took some scissors and just cut it right open. But it looked a lot worse than it really is. I’ve got to keep it wrapped up for the next 10 days and then I’m good to go.”
Smith said he suffered through an assortment of bumps and bruises during his summer workouts but nothing as serious as Tuesday’s scrape. He caught his hand in the rim while trying to elevate to block a Jeff Teague layup attempt and immediately ran off the floor and into a corner clutching his left hand. He hustled off the floor and to the Hawks’ team doctor’s office to get the wound stitched up.
“I’m hopeful that I’ve got all this injury stuff out of my system right now while the summer is still going on,” Smith said with a smile. “I’m trying to play 82 games plus the playoffs this season. The good thing for me is that I’m already in great shape. So it’s not like the next 10 days were going to make or break me from a conditioning standpoint. I’m around 230 [pounds] right now and feeling good, so I’ll be ready to get into the mix on the first day of camp.”
So Ariose and anyone else interested in hitting the panic button with a sledgehammer, you can relax now!
BIG BOYS IN THE HOUSE
It’s not often that rookie free agent center Garret Siler is forced to look up to someone on a basketball court.
But that’s exactly what happened to the 7-footer Wednesday when Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum cut through the door of the Hawks’ practice facility to get a workout in at the John “Beans” Beckett Invitational. Bynum and Siler matched up in two different games and Siler acquitted himself well, neither big man dominated the action – that honor belonged to veteran pro Jerry Stackhouse (who has been on a tear this week on both ends of the floor against players much younger).
Siler said he was just happy to have the chance to compete against a pro of Bynum’s caliber.
“This is the best test for me to see guys like [Hawks center] Al Horford and [Bynum] out here,” Siler said. “It helps mentally when you can say, ‘hey, i’m d’ing this guy up and he plays for the world champions. He’s got a ring.’ So if you can hold your own going against and he’s not just destroying you, hey, you must be doing something right.”
It appears that Siler has been doing plenty right this summer. He’s noticeably slimmer today compared to what folks saw of him during the Hawks’ rookie/free agent mini-camp in late July. He said working out back home in Augusta, mostly with his former coaches and some of his teammates that stuck around for the summer, is what helped him get in top physical shape.
“It’s basically up to you,” he said. “It’s about how many shots you want to put up before and or after a workout. You can go from 11 in the morning to 2 p.m in the afternoon on the court. But it’s your option to go to the weight room before that and get up those shots afterward. It’s what you do and how much you want to get better at this level. How much work you put is basically equal to what you get out of it.”
The toughest transition for Siler in these dog days leading up to training camp is finding his way around town.
“I can’t lie to you, my GPS is my friend right now,” Siler said and then laughed. “I do know a lot of the streets right around downtown. I know a lot of the are around here. But it’s about trying to get your bearings down and get a feel for the basics. You start with Peachtree and then Spring Street and then go from there.”
Stackhouse has been drawing raves from players in attendance for not only his veteran savvy but also his still explosive game, on both ends of the floor. There are no official stats kept at the JBBI, but if someone were keeping track Stackhouse would be leading pack in blocks and defensive takeaways.
“The thing that you notice is that he’s still got it,” Smith said. “You can’t hide on this floor, so if Stack is in your neighborhood he’s coming after you and you better be ready to go because he’s not giving you an inch.”
On the eve of what will be his 15th NBA season, Stackhouse is a free agent and open to the idea of exploring his options here and elsewhere.
Stay tuned for more on Stakchouse, who relocated to the area this summer, in my weekend NBA Insider in Sunday’s paper as well as on ajc.com.
ONE TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Another player in town and on the training camp roster worth keeping an eye on is Frank Robinson. The energetic swingman just makes plays. He did the same thing during training camp last year, when he was one of the last cuts before the start of the regular season.
Robinson has NBA skills and the frame to play but will have an uphill battle making a case for a spot on a Hawks’ roster loaded with guards in Teague, Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford.
Another guard expected to drop in for some work on Thursday is veteran point guard Mike Wilks. His name is one of several veteran point guards that have come up as possible additions to the training camp roster. We shall see.