Atlanta Hawks at Blazers: Game thread
Portland–Hawks center Jason Collins (elbow) got bad news from his recent checkup: “Another two to four more weeks. They showed me the MRI on the screen and the severity of the tear and highly recommended I stay in this brace so I can get back to the court as quickly as possible.”
- Collins will wear the brace around the clock and won’t be able to do any rehab until it comes off. “We started testing how the scar tissue is, the joint is still loose and cracking so there’s no scar tissue yet,” he said. “Got to give it more time to heal.”
- Erick Dampier’s 10-day contract is up after tonight’s game. Larry Drew said the team hasn’t decided if it will sign Dampier to another 10-day, add him for the rest of the season or seek a different free agent. “Rick Sund is here and we’ll visit after the game,” Drew said.
- Joe Johnson is wearing a soft brace on his problematic left knee. Johnson, as is his nature, shrugged it off: “It’s no big deal. Tendenitis flared up on it, but we’ve got to go up with what we’ve got. I’ve got tendinitis real bad right here [around patellar tendon]. Its’ tough at times but I had a couple days of rest so I should be all right.”
- In the eight games since scoring 30 points to lift Atlanta to the W at Toronto, Johnson averaged 13.8 points and shot 38 percent from the field. He scored a season-low six points and missed eight of 10 shots at Phoenix.
- Drew: “The last game I thought he was a little tired. His shots were a little short. When that happens, usually it’s the legs. When the physical fatigue sets in, usually the mental fatigue is not far behind. Hopefully those days off will help. We didn’t do much yesterday. He was moving very well yesterday so hopefully he had a chance to get some rest.”
- Johnson is playing 36 minutes per game after averaging 35.5 last season. Both are lows for his time in Atlanta but of obviously the minutes this year are exacerbated by the busy schedule.
- Drew on Josh Smith: “It’s kind of weird because he’s one of those guys when he gets it going, I do run plays for him, but he’s come to me and said, ‘Don’t run plays for me, just get everybody else going and I will try to find my own offense.’”
- LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) is starting for the Blazers.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat