Leandro Barbosa is back from Brazil, where he spent the past few days visiting with his terminally ill father; the rookie point guard is likely to make his NBA debut tonight against the Atlanta Hawks, Suns coach Frank Johnson said.
"It’s a very tough situation," Johnson said, adding Suns’ players were happy to see Barbosa return.
The quick, 6-foot-3 guard’s popularity soared further when he hit a 3-pointer in a shooting contest that caused Johnson to call an end to practice.
Though Barbosa has yet to play, "He looked very good" in Tuesday’s practice, Johnson said. "He understands what we’re doing," Johnson said. And in a reference to Barbosa’s speed, the Suns coach said, "He has gears I can only dream about."
WILLIAMS COULD RETURN FRIDAY
The Suns got good news Tuesday when injured center Scott Williams had a favorable doctor’s visit. His surgically repaired thumb has progressed well enough so that he might start practicing Thursday and be available to play Friday night at Houston, Johnson said.
JACKSON STARTED WITH SUNS
Stephen Jackson has come along ways since hi s status of a second-round draft pick of the Suns in 1998 who failed to make the club. He helped San Antonio win a world title in the spring. Then, after he and the Spurs couldn’t reach an agreement on a new contract, signed with the Hawks. He is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 16.1 points per game. "It takes some young players longer than others," Johnson said of Jackson, who took a vagabond’s tour of overseas and minor-league basketball before hooking on with New Jersey and, later, San Antonio. With the Suns, Jackson flashed ability, "But he wasn’t prepared for the NBA game," Johnson said.