ATLANTA As if the Atlanta Hawks haven't had enough injuries to their frontcourt, they may be even more short-handed in Game 3 against Boston on Friday.
Josh Smith, who has given the Celtics major problems in both Games 1 and 2, had to leave the floor in the fourth quarter with a left knee sprain. Before he left, he had 16 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Smith left the game with 4:20 to play and the Celtics ahead, 74-72.
Just 21 seconds after he left the floor, the Celtics doubled their lead following a turnover by Joe Johnson - Johnson re-entered the game for Smith at the 4:20 mark - that led to a Paul Pierce dunk.
"I don't know much about (Smith)," Hawks coach Larry Drew said during his post-game press conference on Tuesday night. "We'll know more after he's examined. He is one of our go-to guys down the stretch. We were missing all of the things that he brings to the table for us, especially down low."
But you won't find a tear shed in the locker room down the hall, not with the Celtics playing without Rajon Rondo, the NBA's assists leader this season, and Ray Allen who is the NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made.
The C's have been dealing with injuries - some minor while others have been season-enders - throughout the lockout-shortened NBA season.
While Smith's injury doesn't appear to be too serious, he falls in line with what's becoming a growing number of players suffering injuries in the playoffs.
Chicago's Derrick Rose is out for the season following a torn anterior cruciate ligament near the end of Chicago's Game 1 win over Philadelphia. New York rookie Iman Shumpert also suffered a torn ACL in Game 1 of their playoff series against Miami.
And the Hawks, already without Al Horford (chest) and Zaza Pachulia (foot) sidelined, may become even more short-handed depending on the severity of Smith's injury.