Hawks’ Johnson, Okongwu To Miss Multiple Weeks

Hawks forward Jalen Johnson underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed a Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain. He’ll be reevaluated in about three weeks, Atlanta announced in a press release.

Johnson, 22, has had a breakout third season for the Hawks, averaging 16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.6 APG and 1.2 SPG on .511/.355/.728 shooting in 56 games (33.7 MPG). He sustained the injury in Tuesday’s double-overtime loss to Miami.

The former first-round pick will be eligible for a rookie scale extension in the offseason. If no deal is reached, Johnson will hit restricted free agency in 2025.

The Hawks also provided an injury update on backup big man Onyeka Okongwu, who has been limited to just two games since the All-Star break due to a left big toe sprain. Okongwu underwent a non-surgical procedure in California on Tuesday in order to address ongoing inflammation in the toe, per the team. He’ll be reevaluated in approximately four weeks.

Okongwu, 23, has averaged 10.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 1.1 BPG on .611/.333/.793 shooting in 55 games in 2023/24 (25.5 MPG). He signed a four-year, $62MM rookie scale extension last offseason that begins in ’24/25.

The injuries are devastating for the Hawks, who just got Trae Young back from hand surgery on Wednesday but will now be missing three of their top frontcourt players entering the play-in tournament. Forward Saddiq Bey is also out for the season after suffering a torn ACL.

Atlanta is currently 36-44, the No. 10 seed in the East, and trail the No. 9 Bulls by 1.5 games with two games remaining in the regular season.

Forward De’Andre Hunter and center Bruno Fernando will likely receive extra playing time entering the postseason. Guard/forward Vit Krejci is also a candidate to be promoted from his two-way deal, but the Hawks have a full 15-man roster, so they’d have to waive someone in order to convert the former second-round pick.

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