De'Andre Hunter

Southeast Notes: Hunter, Young, Dragic, Thornwell, Adebayo

Hawks‘ second-year forward De’Andre Hunter underwent surgery today for a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, according to a team press release. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of preseason.

Hunter had a breakout start to his second year in the NBA, but his season was derailed by knee injuries after just 18 games and several attempts at an early return went poorly. He looked to be rounding back into shape during the Hawks’ first-round series against the Knicks, but started experiencing swelling that caused him to miss the first two games of the team’s series against the Sixers before the injury was announced.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks guard Trae Young is being listed as probable for Game Five due to right shoulder soreness, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Young said that he injured the shoulder in Game Three but kept it to himself due to a desire to play in Game Four, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I wasn’t gonna tell nobody anyways other than the training staff,” he said, which may explain why head coach Nate McMillan claimed to have not known about the injury prior to tip-off. Young finished the game with 25 points and 18 assists, tied for second-most in Hawks history, as he helped lead the team to a comeback victory to tie the series at two games apiece.
  • Heat guard Goran Dragiccoming off a magical Finals run, had a disappointing season by his own standards, much of which was due to a string of injuries that prevented him from getting any real rhythm. The Slovenian guard opened up about his struggles with injuries, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. “I think I opened the season pretty well. I played well,” Dragic said. “Then just nagging injuries, a couple of injuries, COVID protocols, players in and out of the lineup. Sometimes you’re starting, sometimes not. It’s tough to catch a rhythm like that when you play two or three games and then you’re out for nine.” He’s hoping that this offseason will give him time to get his body right and be ready for next season. Dragic has a $19.4MM team option this summer, which the Heat will have to make a decision on.
  • Sindarius Thornwell may not have had a huge impact on the Magic in his seven games with the team, but he proved himself a capable defender and physical player, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. But Orlando is going into the offseason with a roster filled with promising guards, and Thornwell is likely the odd man out. Parry writes that Thornwell could parlay his play with the Magic into a deal with another team.
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines whether it could be worth it for the Heat to explore trading Bam Adebayo in a package for a star such as Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal, and what the ramifications of such a move could look like.

Southeast Notes: Goodwin, Reddish, Hunter, Porter Jr., Magic

Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin and forward Cam Reddish won’t play in Game 3 against Philadelphia on Friday, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets. Goodwin is dealing with a minor respiratory condition, while Reddish is still working his way back from right Achilles soreness. Reddish has played 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 in practices, but hasn’t progressed to 5-on-5 yet, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. He hasn’t appeared in a game since February 21.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks have missed De’Andre Hunter‘s defensive versatility against the Sixers, Kirschner writes. Hunter, who is out for the season due to a knee injury, has the ability to guard four positions. Hunter would have been a major upgrade over Solomon Hill, who can’t defend as well and also doesn’t offer as much offensively as Hunter.
  • Otto Porter Jr. didn’t get much of a chance to show what he could do for the Magic due to injuries, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Porter was acquired by Orlando from Chicago at the trade deadline to make the salaries match up in the Nikola Vucevic blockbuster. Porter, an unrestricted free agent this summer, was limited to three games with the Magic due to a foot injury.
  • The first step in the Magic’s latest rebuild begins with the return of starters Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz from major knee injuries, Parry writes in a separate story. The draft is another key, since the Magic could have two top-10 picks, if the Bulls’ pick they own doesn’t move into the top four. They could also move Gary Harris or Terrence Ross for more cap flexibility or assets, Parry adds.

Hawks’ Hunter Out For Playoffs With Torn Lateral Meniscus

Hawks second-year wing De’Andre Hunter missed the first two games of the team’s round two series with the 76ers with right knee swelling. After an MRI, the initial review revealed a small tear of the lateral meniscus, according to a team press release. Hunter is scheduled to fly to Los Angeles for surgery on Tuesday. He will miss the remainder of the postseason.

This will be the second surgery on Hunter’s right knee this season, and marks the end of an injury-ravaged sophomore year in the NBA. Hunter had started the year playing the best basketball of his young career, but was injured just 19 games into the season. He finished the year having only played 23 games.

After a promising return during the Hawks’ first round series against the Knicks, Hunter was once again on the injury report, due to knee swelling. This diagnosis puts to rest any hope of Hunter returning during the playoffs.

With fellow second-year wing Cam Reddish still recovering from an injured Achilles, the Hawks will have to rely on more minutes from veteran wings Danilo Gallinari, Solomon Hill and Tony Snell.

Hawks Notes: Roster, Hunter, Bogdanovic, McMillan

The Hawks‘ decision to load up on players who excel at dribbling, passing and shooting has helped them turn into an instant contender, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2017, Atlanta had too much offense for the Knicks to handle in their first-round matchup, then surprised the Sixers in Game 1 of the conference semifinals.

The Hawks began their turnaround by drafting Trae Young in 2018. They have steadily built the offense around him, with deadly shooters like Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic among their offseason additions. Atlanta set a franchise record by making 20 three-pointers in Sunday’s win at Philadelphia.

“That’s something we do. We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball,” Kevin Huerter said. “When we get the ball moving side-to-side and not take the first shot on possessions, we’re a team that is capable of hitting 20 a game. I hope we don’t need to hit 20 moving forward in the series, but anytime you shoot like that, you give yourself a really good chance to win.”

There’s more from Atlanta:

  • One of the impressive things about Sunday’s victory is that it came without De’Andre Hunter, the team’s best perimeter defender, Kirschner adds. Hunter was ruled out after experiencing pain in his right knee, which was operated on in February to fix a partially torn meniscus. Hunter has felt on-and-off soreness in the knee since the surgery. He was able to do some shooting Monday and is considered a game-time decision for Game 2, Kirschner tweets.
  • After three seasons in Sacramento, Bogdanovic is thrilled to finally be in the NBA playoff spotlight, notes Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer. Bogdanovic earned a reputation as a big-game player in Europe before coming to the United States. “Here, he had to perform under pressure all the time,” said Maurizio Gherardini, general manager of Bogdanovic’s former Fenerbahce team. “But he likes that sort of pressure. … He was not afraid of that kind of responsibility on his shoulders.”
  • Young said in a recent radio interview that he expects Nate McMillan to be installed as the team’s permanent head coach, but isn’t surprised an announcement hasn’t been made yet, relays Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report. Counting the playoffs, McMillan is 32-12 since becoming interim coach. “It’s just the timing. We’re in the playoffs, it’s the end of the season,” Young said. “I don’t think it’s something they want to take away from the team right now. I mean, obviously, he’s done a great job with helping us turn this around, so I’d be surprised if he’s not with us next year.”

Sixers Center Joel Embiid Will Play In Game 1; Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter Out

Joel Embiid will be in the Sixers‘ starting lineup for today’s opener of their second-round series with the Hawks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Embiid, who was diagnosed with a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, was considered a game-time decision. He went through warm-ups before the team determined he was ready to play.

He suffered the injury in Monday’s playoff game against the Wizards, and the medical staff has been doing treatments on the knee all week. Embiid was limited to individual workouts during practices the last two days.

The Hawks announced that De’Andre Hunter will miss today’s game with soreness in his right knee, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team’s top perimeter defender was able to play all five games in the first-round series with the Knicks, but he has been dealing with pain in his knee since having surgery in February.

Southeast Notes: Hunter, Magic, Hawks, Heat

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, limited to just 21 games this season due to a pesky right knee injury, has seen the knee responding well after returning to the court for Atlanta Monday, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.

Kirschner tweets that Hunter will miss Wednesday’s contest against the Wizards for scheduled maintenance on the knee, but will be available on the second night of the Hawks’ latest back-to-back, Thursday against the Magic.

Hunter had a nonsurgical procedure last month to treat remaining soreness in the knee. The 23-year-old forward out of Virginia, selected with the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA draft, has averaged career highs of 15.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.5 BPG in his second NBA season with the Hawks.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Though the Magic have been eliminated from playoff contention and appear to be prioritizing high lottery picks in a packed draft, there are still plenty of intriguing chemistry elements the club can evaluate among its current young players down the stretch, writes Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Chris Kirschner and John Hollinger of The Athletic assess the offseason of the seemingly playoff-bound Hawks, including decisions facing the club on restricted free agent big man John Collins and disappointing 2019 lottery selection Cam Reddish. Kirschner and Hollinger wonder if Reddish should be flipped now should an improvement at the bench small forward position become available via trade, or if Atlanta should wait to see if he improves while still on his rookie deal. Collins has evolved into a valuable two-way contributor, and the speculation revolves more around the price point at which he will be re-signed rather than whether or not he’ll be brought back.
  • The Heat have seen a performative uptick lately, despite several backcourt absences. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald takes a look at how the in-season additions of veterans Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon, both 2021 unrestricted free agents, have benefited Miami. Ariza, 35, has started in 24 of the 27 games he has appeared in with the Heat, during which the team went 15-12. In a smaller but still crucial role as the team’s reserve big man willing to do the dirty work on defense, Dedmon has averaged 13.5 MPG across his 13 appearances with Miami — the club has gone 9-4 in those games.

Heath Updates: Porzingis, Kleber, J. Brown, R. Williams, Hunter, Carter, Bradley

The Mavericks are in good shape to avoid a play-in game, but they may have to finish the regular season without big men Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Porzingis has already been declared out for today’s game against the Cavaliers, marking the sixth straight game he will miss and the ninth in the last 10 games. He suffered a sprained left ankle on March 22, then returned three games later and had to leave with soreness in his right knee. He tested the knee before Friday’s game, shooting for about 15 minutes.

Kleber has sat out the past three games with pain in his right Achilles. He is officially listed as questionable for today, but coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t expect him to play.

“Not having Kleber or Porzingis puts us in a more precarious situation,” Carlisle said. “But we’ve just got to figure it out. Five games left. Every game is super meaningful. We understand it. We’re just going to stay in the present, stick to the process and keep working.”

Here are some more injury-related updates:

  • Celtics forward Jaylen Brown will miss today’s showdown with the Heat because of a sprained right ankle, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The team had hoped Brown could be ready, but he will sit out his third straight game. Robert Williams is considered probable for today with turf toe, but coach Brad Stevens said there will be a lot of game-time decisions for him for the rest of the season, Murphy adds (via Twitter).
  • Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter will be a game-time decision at best on Monday, according to Kevin Chouinard of NBA.com (Twitter link). Coach Nate McMillan indicated that a final decision will be made after today’s practice and Monday’s walkthrough. Hunter has missed the past 24 games and has only played twice since January 29.
  • Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is dealing with blurry vision and slightly impaired depth perception, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. He will miss tonight’s game with a left eye abrasion (Twitter link).
  • Rockets coach Stephen Silas said there’s no timetable for a return by guard Avery Bradley, who is out for personal reasons, relays Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston (Twitter link).

Hawks Notes: Playoff Prospects, Okongwu, Hunter, Rondo

The Hawks have assembled a roster that could be a surprise force in the East when the playoffs start, writes Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. General manager Travis Schlenk focused on adding shooting over the offseason, signing Bogdan Bogdanovic as a free agent and trading for Danilo Gallinari and Tony Snell.

Atlanta made a powerful impression on the Suns this week, putting up 135 points in a 32-point victory.

“They have a lot of guys who can knock down shots, but not just 3-point shots,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “Bogdanovic and Trae (Young) are two guys who can get into the paint and make shots creating off the dribble. (Clint) Capela has been huge for them. He generates offense diving and gets extra possessions. His defense covers up a lot of the mistakes that the guards can make. Gallinari is a versatile scorer. They’re deep. They look like a playoff team. They look like they’re getting into playoff shape. I don’t think many teams want to play them if they’re going to continue to shoot the ball like that.”

There’s more on the Hawks:

  • Lottery pick Onyeka Okongwu hasn’t been impactful during his rookie season, playing just 11.6 minutes per night and averaging 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds, but he’s turned in some recent performances that may cause coach Nate McMillan to consider him for the postseason rotation, Kirschner adds. One of those came against the Suns, when he had 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench. “A young guy like that, he seems to get better each time he steps on the floor,” McMillan said. “… As long as he continues to play like that and show growth, he’ll get minutes. This year is basically a year for him to get his feet wet and get out there and just play.”
  • De’Andre Hunter continues to make progress toward returning from an injured right knee, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was able to play five-on-five today, and the team will wait to see how his knee responds Sunday before planning his next step.
  • Former Hawks guard Rajon Rondo praised the organization this week for how it handled his trade to the Clippers, relays KL Chouinard of NBA.com (Twitter link). “Travis (Schlenk) and I talked a couple of days before and that morning as well,” Rondo said on a TNT interview. “We had a conversation. It was a pleasant one, and one that I never had in my entire career. Big ups to the Hawks organization. I wish those guys well.”

Injury Notes: Porzingis, Hart, Adams, Hayward, Walker, Hartenstein, Hunter, Beverley

The Mavericks will hold center Kristaps Porzingis out of both games this weekend as he deals with pain in his right knee, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “He’s going to rehab and work out,” coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “He’s doing better than he was two nights ago in Detroit. Things are moving in a good direction.”

Porzingis was also dealing with a sprained left ankle last week, so Thursday’s game against the Pistons marked the only time he has played since April 22. Carlisle said he had no other specifics to offer and no timetable beyond this weekend. He added that Porzingis is “very diligent” about rehab work.

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • The Pelicans aren’t sure if guard Josh Hart will be able to return before the end of the regular season, according to Jim Eichenhofer (Twitter link). Hart had surgery April 6 to fix a torn UCL in his right thumb. “We knew going in that his timetable to get back (in uniform) would be the last week to 10 days (of the regular season), coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We’ll have to wait and see as we get later into next week.”
  • Pelicans center Steven Adams suffered a sprained toe this week, but Van Gundy said it’s a day-to-day issue and Adams should be available for the rest of the season (Twitter link from Andrew Lopez of ESPN).
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward no longer needs a walking boot for his sprained right foot, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
  • Celtics guard Kemba Walker is listed as doubtful for Sunday with a strain in his left side, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). It would be the fourth straight missed game for Walker.
  • Cavaliers center Isaiah Hartenstein was able to work out at the arena tonight for the first time since entering concussion protocol, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Hartenstein has missed the past four games.
  • Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who has been out since March 23 with a knee injury, hasn’t been able to work out for several days, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Coach Nate McMillan said he has no idea if Hunter will be able to play again this season.
  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley may be able to return in the “next couple games” if his left hand continues to improve, coach Tyronn Lue told Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter Undergoes Non-Surgical Procedure

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter underwent a non-surgical procedure at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex earlier today and will return to activity following three days of “unloading,” the team announced today in a press release.

Atlanta’s announcement is light on specifics, but it’s safe to assume the procedure relates to Hunter’s right knee. He underwent meniscus surgery in February and was experiencing some swelling and soreness upon his return. A PRP injection is a logical possibility, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though it’s worth noting that’s just informed speculation.

While the Hawks and Hunter certainly would’ve preferred to be able to avoid a follow-up procedure altogether, it doesn’t sound like this one was too serious. As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic tweets, head coach Nate McMillan said today that the procedure “absolutely” won’t keep Hunter sidelined for the rest of the season. We’ll have to wait for more details on his recovery timeline, but it could be a relatively short-term absence for the former lottery pick.

In 20 games so far this season (31.3 MPG), Hunter has averaged 16.0 PPG and 5.1 RPG on .502/.356/.867 shooting. Until he returns, the Hawks figure to lean more heavily on wings like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Tony Snell, and Lou Williams.