Paul Millsap will make his preseason debut when the Hawks All-Star power forward suits up against the Magic in an exhibition game Sunday in Orlando.
Millsap missed the Hawks’ first four exhibition games as he returned from an undisclosed non-surgical procedure on his right knee just before the start of training camp. Millsap was expected to miss three weeks after the procedure to alleviate persistent swelling.
“I’m ready to get back out there and compete,” Millsap told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Saturday. “I’m ready.”
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap will be “limited” in his first game of the preseason. He is expected to play about 18 minutes.
Millsap returned to practice Saturday after being sidelined the past three days with an illness.
“The knee has been in a good place for a few days and responded well,” Budenholzer said. “He will a little bug but hopefully the bug is gone and the knee feels good.”
Millsap said the coaching staff will decide whether he plays in either of the Hawks remaining two exhibition games after Sunday. He indicated last week that he would like to play at least games before the regular-season opener on Oct. 27 against the Wizards.
“No caution,” Millsap said. “No restrictions. I’m full go.”
Millsap will get a chance over the final three exhibition games to join a lineup that includes new starters in Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder. Millsap said Saturday he has an idea of what to expect with the new lineup from practices and watching exhibitions but there is no substitute for game action against another team. The Hawks host the Pelicans on Tuesday and play the Bulls in Omaha, Neb. on Thursday to end the exhibition schedule.
Millsap has been the Hawks best player over the past two seasons. Last season he averaged 17.1 points 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.7 blocks in 32.7 minutes of his 81 games.
Also of note about Sunday’s game against the Magic, starting shooting guard Kyle Korver will not make the trip to Orlando. Budenholzer said “Kyle doesn’t need to play seven preseason games.” Budenholzer did not say who would start in place of Korver.