BOSTON Josh Smith acknowledges the left knee sprain that kept him out of Game 3 is still bothersome.
That pain, he says, won't prevent him from playing in Game 4 on Sunday.
"It's still a little pain in there, but I understand the importance of this game," Smith told CSNNE.com. "You can't play injured, but you can play a little hurt."
So which are you?
"I'm a little hurt; a little hurt," he said with a grin. "Might be a little bit of both, know what I mean? I know when that adrenaline starts to kick in, I probably won't feel it until after the basketball game."
The absence of Smith, who will not practice today but said he plans to go a little "harder" during shoot-around tomorrow, was clearly felt by an Atlanta team that now trails the Celtics, 2-1, in their best-of-seven series following Friday night's 90-84 overtime win by the C's.
Smith understands another loss would make it nearly impossible for the Hawks to advance.
"I understand my teammates need me out there, so I have to go out there and try to play the best I can play," he said.
Hearing that Smith planned to play, not surprisingly, was well received by his head coach Larry Drew.
"I like hearing that," Drew said. "He's one guy that has a high tolerance for pain; I do know that about him."