Millsap, Sefolosha, Horford — what’s going on with Hawks?

Hawks center Al Horford is tended to by trainer Wally Blase after suffering a dislocated pinky Sunday night. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Hawks center Al Horford is tended to by trainer Wally Blase after suffering a dislocated pinky Sunday night. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Hawks center Al Horford is tended to by trainer Wally Blase after suffering a dislocated pinky Sunday night. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

This isn’t meant to come off as a sky-if-falling blog.

OK. Maybe a little.

But the Hawks have had a horrible 16-day stretch, and at the worst possible time of the season.

• April 4: Paul Millsap, the team’s leading scorer and its best player for most of this season, suffered a right shoulder contusion and sprain in a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark. He sat out five games but still has lingering soreness and is struggling to regain his shooting touch, in part because of the protective compression shirt he wears under his jersey (going only 4-for-20 from the floor in the regular season finale and Sunday’s playoff opener against the Nets).

• April 8: Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic were arrested after an early morning altercation outside of a New York night club. Sefolosha, one of the Hawks’ best defenders and bench players, suffered a broken leg and ligament damage and was lost for the remainder of the season and the playoffs.

• April 19: Al Horford suffered a dislocated right pinky in the playoff series-opening win over the Nets. He returned to play late in the game with his pinky and ring finger taped together. X-rays were negative. Horford told Chris Vivlamore he will play in Game 2 on Wednesday but acknowledged the injury “definitely affected me” in the game. “Having it taped like that around my finger, especially on my shooting hand, was very uncomfortable to shoot the ball.”

This is a team that largely went through the season without a major injury to a core player (save Kyle Korver’s broken nose on March 15, forcing him to miss three games and then returning with a protective mask).

Question: Does all this make you wonder what lies ahead? The strength of the Hawks is their balance and the fact they’re not overly reliant on one player. But when a team’s core takes hits like this, it’s going to have a significant effect.

The Hawks are good enough to win a playoff series over Brooklyn, even with the injury issues. But they can’t go deep into the NBA playoffs without a healthy Millsap and Horford, and they certainly need Millsap to rediscover his shooting touch.

Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Hawks need a better Millsap for long playoff run
— MyAJC: Budenholzer knows what playoff success is all about
— MyAJC: Hawks hoping to leave Atlanta playoff wreckage behind
— AJC: Hawks lose lottery pick but get better playoff match-up: Nets
— MyAJC: Jordan Spieth: Perfect champion, perfect story
— AJC: Masters short takes: Spieth’s first major won’t be his last
— MyAJC: It’s a Masters Sunday, and here comes old Phil Mickelson
— AJC: Masters short takes: Spieth hopes to avoid Norman flashback
— MyAJC: Jordan Spieth toying with Augusta, Masters’ field
— AJC: Masters short takes: Spieth’s historic run, and the other guy
— MyAJC: Woods is back, or he’s not, or he is, or he’s not…
— AJC: Masters short takes: The future (Spieth) and the past (Crenshaw)
— AJC: It’s Masters morning and old guys have laready withdrawn
— MyAJC: On eve of final Masters, Ben Crenshaw embracing every moment
— MyAJC: Woods loose, confident, but is he really ready for Masters
— MyAJC: Braves stop the noise with opening victory
— AJC: Short takes: Small ball, Teheran, bullpen and a Braves’ win
— AJC: LIVE: Braves (or what’s left of them) open series vs. Marlins
— AJC: Braves’ deal saves budget (Upton) but drives nail in season (Kimbrel)
— MyAJC: Trade reaffirms Braves’ decision to go backward before forward
— MyAJC: With expectations low, at least Braves won’t underachieve
— AJC: Hawks’ biggest nightmare: Millsap suffers shoulder injury
— MyAJC: Hawks’ turnaround started with trade of Joe Johnson — and he knows it

 

Reader Comments 0

42 comments
Sautee
Sautee

Olivia_Coleman_Bernard31 3 days ago

Milsaps done for the season. Bank on it. Told all you haters.


uh...huh

-------------------------------------------------------------

Oops! LMFAO.


Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

Really need Millsap to get back to his normal self.   He is a matchup problem for most teams and IMO is our MVP.  We need him playing at a high level to do anything more than beating a weak Nets team.

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

The Hawks played ugly and still won, pretty easily! Folks that is the BEST that the Nets can throw at us! Joe J had a great game and some of their other guys stepped up too ... but we pretty much had the game in hand It was not the greatest 2nd half and I don't understand all the 3 attempts when we have a comfortable lead ... but come on Atlanta fans we got this series ... round 2 will be tougher yes but this is a great team. Have faith. GO HAWKS

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

Luckily the first round is about 2 weeks - time to heal.  

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

Horford needs to take the tape off. Its worse than the injury. A dislocated pinky is nothing. Pop it back into place and play on. 

bpgt
bpgt

Millsap and Horford will combine for 40 points and 20 rebounds tomorrow night.  All doubt will disappear.  Hawks will win by 30.

GirlieGurley
GirlieGurley

Stop the whining. Starting to sound like Dawg fans.

TeheranHeight
TeheranHeight

This team goes as Teague goes and Teague hasn't been playing too good for the past month

Wilbo
Wilbo

What's going on w the Hawks?


They're getting ready to choke like dogs.


Limber up your excusifying talents....

HotDawg
HotDawg

What's your excuse for being a lowlife, d-bag?

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

We will be fine. Our depth is good enough to win us at least home games and take us to the conference finals. Hopefully by then, Millsap will be well. I am not worried about Horford because the X rays came back negative. He will be back to normal in 1 week. Have faith in Coach Bud and believe in the system. It was a combination of coaching and teamwork from our players that made us so successful during the regular season. 

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

True Story; I live in the country in South Georgia and often see Hawks around our land. But today A Hawk flew into my Aunts barn next door she called me about the hawk she said he had been sitting under a tree for about a hour. I went to check and when I walk up on it, it ran for about 20 feet usually it would have flew away. So I walked over to within 2 feet. This beautiful bird turned his head and looked at me started to run then opened his wings and began to fly I stood and watched as it flew low for about 100 yards then began to get higher and higher to it flew out of sight. So Hawk fans remember the heart of a hawk to succeed  they will soar again. So to the real Hawk fan get louder #GOHAWKSYOUHAVETHEHEART

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

It's the NBA. Injuries occur. None of these injuries are out of the ordinary, especially Horford's dislocation. When you are playing a game that focuses on the hands, injuries are going to occur. Hawks do have a 1 game lead.

crackbaby
crackbaby

It's the playoffs.  The games are much more physical than regular season.  Hawks need to show some toughness.

If Paul and Al aren't effective in the near term, Mike Scott, Pero and Moose need to step up.  

Hawks can beat Brooklyn with second string bigs if Teague, Korver, Baze and Schroder play well.

But Paul and Al need to recover in 10 days.  Gonna need those guys to beat the better teams.

GO HAWKS!

DawgNole
DawgNole

Injuries?

Must be all that rest given the starters down the stretch--in the interest of reducing injury potential.

crackbaby
crackbaby

@DawgNole Seriously?  Did you see them happen?  Paul got crashed in an effort play for loose ball.  Big Al jammed his pinky grabbing a rebound. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@crackbaby @DawgNole

All of which goes to show that resting starters to avoid injury--and losing games in the process--is not a worthwhile strategy.

"crackbaby"?

Seriously?

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

Why no minutes for Muscala last night?

DrGonzo
DrGonzo

It would help if the refs didn't let every team we play beat on us in the lane - with nary a foul called. Somebody breaks LeBron's nose and they're getting double-technical thrown out. Somebody throws one of our guys to the floor and the refs are all "Play on."

Olivia_Coleman_Bernard31
Olivia_Coleman_Bernard31

Milsaps injury is season ending, they are just rushing him out there some to keep the panic level down.


Thefolosha, a decent come off the bench player couldn't score, so Hawks actually are better off with Bazemore playing anyway.


Horfords injury could recover over the curse of a 7 game series whether it goes 7 or the next round matchup currently goes 7. He should be OK.


Milsaps injury isn't going away till next year, he is toast.

JSSN
JSSN

@Olivia_Coleman_Bernard31

Oh hell, she's back practicing medicine on the Internet! Got anymore Terri Schiavo diagnosis? How about Bobbi Christina?

BTC
BTC

Oh well, there's always next year...

maxman2660
maxman2660

may beat lowly brooklyn and then they go splat

JSSN
JSSN

Nope, it's the Hawks, just do what you can!

odelljones
odelljones

R-E-L-A-X

this city and its fans have no clue. you all freak out over a game one win by seven points.

meno
meno

@DrGonzo @odelljones Thanks for your post!  I was so up after the game last night, but leave it to the AJC sports writers (Bradley too) to bring me down--I wonder if this is going to be another Atl post season let down,how much of it could be attributed to the constant negativity our commentators have to pour down on us (even when our teams win).  I guess now the standard will be even if do not win a championship beating every time by double digits in the post season, we are a sports disappointment.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@meno @DrGonzo @odelljones

We can only hope that the standard somehow will improve from the current ZERO Round 2 series victories in 47 years.

DrGonzo
DrGonzo

@odelljones Seriously. The way everyone has reacted since last night, you'd think we lost the damn game.  Also, I was at the game, great playoff atmosphere. If we can keep that up, doesn't matter who comes in here, they're going to have a tough time at The Phil. Relax folks. We got this. Trust in your Hawks. Trust in Coach Bud.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Relax?....Are you Aaron Rogers?

KarlWelzein
KarlWelzein

WELCOME TO ATLANTA SPORTS, you guys.

HotDawg
HotDawg

It's y'all. Not you guys.

Delta is ready when you are.

-sting-
-sting-

Seems like as an atlanta fan, if its not one thing it is another. Tough to lose 4/9 of major rotation guys in such a short time including scott. Sucks. Only team hit harder is the blazers.