Antonio Daniels returned to action Thursday night and played nearly 20 minutes without experiencing any problems. An even better sign came yesterday when the veteran guard was able to practice on a right knee that has been bothered by soreness since the summer.
Daniels, who was counted on to be the starting point guard until Gilbert Arenas returns, has been limited to seven games.
'In the past he struggled a little bit with strenuous activity the day after a game but he came in feeling pretty good,' Coach Ed Tapscott said after practice yesterday. 'So, we'll keep building on it so that we know he's going to be in each night because it's a different look on the floor when he's out there because he's our most experienced point guard.'
Atlanta entered last night's game at Toronto with a 9-5 record. That was the team's best start in 11 seasons and proof that last season's run to the playoffs and effort in a first-round loss to the eventual champion Celtics were no flukes.
Recently, the Hawks have been forced to play without forward Josh Smith, the do-everything player who anchors their defense, but Mike Woodson's team continues to plug along.
The Wizards were in position to win in Atlanta on Nov. 19 but clutch three-pointers by Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson allowed the Hawks to pull out a 91-87 victory.
'I thought we had the game,' said guard DeShawn Stevenson, whose jumper gave the Wizards a four-point lead before Williams and Johnson hit their shots. 'But when it rains, it pours.'