--F Josh Smith was confined to strictly treadmill workouts before Thursday, the result of the high left ankle sprain he suffered in a Nov. 7 win over Toronto at Philips Arena.While Smith won't suit up for Saturday's game in Washington, he's at least back on the court for the first time since suffering the injury and eyeing a possible return to action for Wednesday's home game against Memphis. And his teammates are loving seeing him out there again.
"Any way you slice it, it's good to see him back out there," Mario West said. "We've missed Josh's energy and all that he brings to the table."
Smith said he's still experiencing a little stiffness in the ankle, nothing unusual for a high ankle sprain. Still, he knows he's on his way back.
"It just takes time," he said. "I understand that. And I feel as though I could probably play before [Wednesday] but I want to be able to get a few more practices in and get my wind up before I throw myself back out there. Because you want to be as close to 100 percent as possible when you get back on the floor after being injured."
--Plenty of veterans on the Hawks' roster have war stories about how they had to cut their teeth in the league. And they have plenty of advice for a youngster like G Acie Law.
"Having been there before, I can tell you he's doing a great job," F Marvin Williams said. "The thing Acie has to remember is that he can play. He knows he can play. There's no reason for him to ever lose confidence or anything. He had what, 20 (points) seven (assists) and six (rebounds) the other night (Nov. 22 at Cleveland) in about 20 (actually 23) minutes. He just has to learn everything he can watching Mike and be ready to play when it's his turn."
When that is remains to be seen.
"The thing with us right now is we have the luxury of developing Acie," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "When we drafted Josh Smith and Josh Childress we didn't have that luxury. We had to throw them to the wolves before they were ready.
"Sometimes that's good and sometimes it's not. If you put a young guy in a situation early and he fails so badly that he has a tough time recovering, you've done him a disservice. Young guys have their ups and downs. In our case, Acie Law doesn't have to come in and save our team. But on the flip side I still want guys to be hungry and being ready to play. And he's been all of that."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'd rather be doing this than running on that damn treadmill. And that's for real." -- A winded F Josh Smith on why he was so happy to be back on the practice court with his Hawks teammates.