Hawks' Josh Smith expected to play
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith is expected to play in Tuesday night's playoff game against the Orlando Magic despite receiving extensive treatment the past two days for a bruised elbow.
Smith sustained the injury Saturday during the Hawks' 103-93 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-seven playoff series. He finished the game and had 15 points, eight rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes.
Team officials said Smith didn't know at exactly what point in the game he injured the elbow, but he complained of soreness and stiffness in his left arm after he woke up Sunday morning. Smith participated in the Hawks' practice sessions each of the past two days and went through the team's shootaround Tuesday morning.
Hawks coach Larry Drew said having two days off between games to recover was essential for Smith and a few other Atlanta players who have been dealing with nagging injuries.
"He's been icing it and been getting treatment on it and says it's been getting better," Hawks coach Larry Drew said before Tuesday's shootaround. "I don't think the elbow hampers him to the point where it totally takes him out of the game. He's an impact guy. He still has the ability to impact the game. I really believe with the elbow hurting or without it hurting, he still has the ability to impact."
Drew said he's asked Smith to focus more on his defense and to continue containing Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu, who missed seven of his nine shot attempts and finished with six points, five assists and four rebounds in 38 minutes Saturday.
Smith's defense on Turkoglu was pivotal in a game the Hawks won comfortably despite a big game from Dwight Howard, who had a career-high 46 points and 19 rebounds. Smith is regarded as one of the best defensive forwards in the league, and averaged 16.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game this season.
"For my team, I think the two days off did us some good," Drew said. "We've been a little nicked up, a little banged up. It's allowed some of these guys to mend. It allows them to take an extra day to heal. For the psyche, particularly after winning Game 1, it did us some good."
Michael Wallace covers the NBA for ESPN.com.
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