The Atlanta Hawks are down another captain. Joe Johnson left the game with 6:44 left in the first quarter after getting an elbow to the mouth from Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Atlanta guard was going to the hoop. He was met by Ibaka's elbow after taking a shot in the lane.
Johnson lay on the Philips Arena floor woozy for a minute or two before heading to the Atlanta bench. He later departed for the locker room with the team's dentist. Fox Sport South reporter Jerome Jurenovich reported that Johnson suffered a cut lip. He returned to the court with just over three minutes left in the first quarter.
Atlanta could ill afford to miss Johnson for any part of this one. Josh Smith is out with a sore right knee and Al Horford is in foul trouble. The Atlanta center, who is starting in Smith's spot at power forward picked up two quick fouls and quickly took a seat on the Hawks bench.
Jurenovich also spoke to Smith prior to the opening tip of this one. J-Smoove told Jurenovich that he is feeling better and hopes to return in time for Atlanta's matchup against the New York Knicks on Sunday.