Quick Healing Joe

Friday, December 17, 2010
By Jon Newberry

Joe Johnson returned WEEKS ahead of schedule when Larry Drew reinserted the Hawks All-Star guard into the starting line-up for Friday night’s match-up with the Bobcats.

Joe spoke with Michael Cunningham of the AJC before the game:

“The therapy just went great, the swelling’s gone down,” Johnson said. “We’ve just been shooting (with) no pain. It’s just feeling great, so I just didn’t feel like it was necessary to wait another two weeks and leave the guys hanging out there like that when I can really get out there and give ‘em everything I got.”

The Hawks started 4-1 without Joe, but had lost three of their last four and looked in desperate need of a go-to scorer in last night’s loss in Boston.

Joe finished the night with 16 points, eight assists, five rebounds, and did not seem to be bothered by the elbow. He got to the line three times and did not shy away from shooting from long range, attempting six shots from behind the arc.

How surprised were JJ’s teammates to hear that he was back?

“From the minute he (Joe) came in here (pregame) and told us he was going to play, nobody believed him,” commented Marvin Williams after the win. “He healed so fast.”

Coach Drew wasn’t expecting to have Joe, but he wasn’t completely surprised by his progress.

“I knew Joe had been working out while we were gone,” said LD. “He had done a lot of shooting, and I knew he was pain-free.”