Thabo Sefolosha is healthy.
He said it. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer reiterated it.
Despite starting at small forward for the for much of the second half of the season, Sefolosha is currently out of the Hawks’ lineup and playing rotation for the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with the Wizards.
Sefolosha did not play in Game 1 of the series. It does not appear he will play in Game 2 on Wednesday except for an injury or blowout.
Budenholzer is using a rotation of nine to 10 players. Sefolosha is not one of them as of now.
“Yes I am,” Sefolosha told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when asked if he was 100 percent healthy after the team practice Monday on the campus of Georgetown University.
Sefolosha was part of the group of five players who remained after practice to get extra work. He was joined by Kris Humphries, Jose Calderon, Malcolm Delaney, Ryan Kelly and DeAndre Bembry. Typically, those players who remain for extra work do not play in the upcoming game.
“It’s coach’s decision,” Sefolosha said. “It’s a tough sport. I’m obviously not happy about it, but at the same time I’m going to keep rooting for my team and help in any way I can. I’m going to stay focused and when Coach needs me I’m ready, but there is only so much I can do at this point.”
Sefolosha missed eight of the final 10 regular-season games with a right groin strain. He returned and came off the bench in the final two contests to play 16 and 23 minutes. Sefolosha with a long, athletic frame, figured to be used as a defender on the wing possibly on the Wizards’ backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Budenholzer said he will keep the same starting lineup for Game 2 with rookie Taurean Prince at small forward and Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard. Hardaway struggled offensively in Game 1 with seven points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 0-of-6 from 3-point range.
“We won’t change the starters,” Budenholzer said. “Between now and Wednesday we’ll keep think about the best groups and the best guys to give us a chance.”