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Report: Hawks F Josh Smith (knee sprain) expects to return for Game 4 vs. Celtics

By Ben Golliver | Blogger

The Atlanta Hawks face a season-defining game and forward Josh Smith wants to give it a go.

The Hawks will play Game 4 of an Eastern Conference first round playoff series against the Boston Celtics on Sunday and Smith said that he expects to play despite a left knee sprain that kept him out a Game 3 loss on Friday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Smith's outlook on Saturday.

“I'm probably going to play regardless how [the knee] feels because I know the importance of this game,” Smith said. “We can do special things because we are a deep team, and very talented. Any other team with three guys who play major minutes are out, they tend to struggle. But we was right there almost about to win.

“With my help, it should help us to get over the hump [Sunday].”

Smith suffered the left knee sprain during the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday night after absorbing a blow from behind from Celtics forward Kevin Garnett. The Hawks went on to lose Game 2, 87-80.

Smith underwent an MRI on Wednesday, which revealed no structural damage, but Smith he sat out Game 3 on Friday. Hawks coach Larry Drew started Marvin Williams in his place. The Celtics won Game 3, 90-84, to take a 2-1 series lead.

Smith, 26, averaged 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals in 35.3 minutes per game for the Hawks this season. He played in all 66 of Atlanta's regular season games.
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