Hawks guard Joe Johnson will return to the lineup Friday night after missing the past three games with a sprained right thumb.
Johnson practiced with the team Friday morning at the team’s shootaround at Philips Arena in preparation for the game against Toronto. His thumb was heavily taped.
“It’s alright,” Johnson said of his thumb, which he injured last week in the team’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers. “It’s not where I really want it to be. It’s still sore, but that soreness is going to be there for quite some time. Just trying to help the team reach one of our goals, that’s trying to solidify the third spot.”
With four games remaining, the Hawks are tied with Boston for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference at 49-29. The Hawks need to finish ahead of the Celtics in order to take the third spot, as Boston owns the tiebreaker by virtue of being a division champion.
Without Johnson in the lineup, the Hawks went 1-2, beating Detroit last Saturday to run their home winning streak to 10, but then losing to Charlotte Tuesday and Detroit Wednesday, which ran their road losing streak to six games.
Coach Mike Woodson also said that backup center Jason Collins will miss the remainder of the regular season as a result of a foot injury sustained before Wednesday’s game at Detroit.