May 08, 2010 - Atlanta, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - epa02149239 Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson (R) tries to drive around Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes in the first half of Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal round NBA playoff basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 08 May 2010.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

Hawks guard Joe Johnson will return to the lineup two weeks ahead of schedule after having right elbow surgery. Th efour-time All-Star will start Friday night against Charlotte at Philips Arena.

“The therapy just went great, the swelling’s gone down,” Johnson said. “We’ve just been shooting (with) no pain. It’s just feeling great, so I just didn’t feel like it was necessary to wait another two weeks and leave the guys hanging out there like that when I can really get out there and give ‘em everything I got.”

Johnson had surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow at the beginning of December. He had been expected to be out four to six weeks.