Marvin Williams and Josh Childress remain the closest of friends despite all the thousands of miles that separate the former Hawks teammates.And while they've kept in regular contact via e-mail and text, they'd spoken on the phone only a couple times since Childress left for Greece.
That's how Williams knew something was going on when he missed a call from Childress before the Hawks knocked off Chicago Tuesday night at United Center.
"I knew something had to be up if he was calling," Williams.
That something was breaking news from much closer to home than Williams imagined. Childress had sports hernia surgery Tuesday in Philadelphia and will be out for six to eight weeks, providing an early return stateside, even if it is just for a month or so.
"I'll be doing rehab in Los Angeles for about a month," Childress said via text Tuesday afternoon. "It was a small tear in my lower abdomen. But I'm good."
He joins a growing list of injured Hawks, former and present. Williams (concussion) and Al Horford (knee) are day-to-day, while reserve guard Acie Law IV is out seven-to-10 days with a right quadriceps contusion.
"It was good to hear from Chil," Williams said, "but I wish the news was better. But he said it's not something major, so I'm sure he'll be fine."
Whether or not the Hawks hear from Childress before the playoffs remains one of the more intriguing potential story lines of this season. While he remains under contract with Greek power Olympiacos, there will be rampant speculation with him in the states rehabbing that he's a candidate to rejoin the Hawks in time for a playoff run.
After all, the Hawks retain his rights as a restricted free agent. And with other defectors for Europe already back in the NBA fold, Childress could make a similar jump were things to get more complicated than they are right now.
But again, that's pure speculation at this point.
HAWKS 105, BULLS 102: The Hawks went into the 44th President's hometown Tuesday night and made their own history on the day Barack Obama, the nation's first African-American President, was inaugurated.
They scratched out a win over Chicago at United Center on Tuesday night for their first ever season sweep of the Bulls, thanks to a monster shooting night by veteran point guard Mike Bibby.
Bibby helped make up for the absence of starters Marvin Williams and Al Horford with a season-high 31 points and six assists. Bibby's pull-up jumper over Bulls 7-footer Joakim Noah gave the Hawks a 104-98 lead with 18.9 seconds left, serving as the final dagger as the Hawks improved to 25-16.
"They were killing us on the boards all night but the guys kept fighting and I kept telling everybody let's see what we're made of and take this game," Bibby said after shredding the Bulls' defense with a 5-for-10 showing from beyond the 3-point line, six assists and five huge steals. "We were lucky our shots were going in, because they were killing us on the boards."
The Hawks won despite being destroyed on the boards 48-34 without either Horford or Williams around to help Josh Smith, who notched his second straight double digit rebounding night with 14 to go along with his 17 points.
"We used Bibby as our horse tonight," Smith said. "He's one of those players that once he gets it going he's kind of hard to stop. And you saw him in clutch situations. He was hitting big shot after big shot. And when Joe (Johnson) doesn't have it, we feel good knowing we have Bibby there, too."