Injuries seemed omnipresent for the Hawks last season, though they were able to overcome them and make a historic playoff run.
At least for the first few weeks of the preseason, there’s some carryover, as a handful of Hawks players will start 2021-22 NBA training camp less than 100% healthy. But, on a positive note, the hope is several of them will be ready to go for the regular season.
Ahead of camp, which begins Tuesday, general manager Travis Schlenk gave some injury updates: De’Andre Hunter, who struggled with knee issues last year, won’t be a full participant and will be eased back in. He’s been playing 1-on-1, and the Hawks expect him to be 100% ready by the season’s start. Hunter had an MRI taken before the first game of the Hawks’ playoff series with Philadelphia, which revealed a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, and had surgery in June.
There’s a similar timeline for Kevin Huerter, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela. Huerter underwent a procedure on his knee after last season, Schlenk said, and Bogdanovic underwent injections to address knee soreness that flared up in the postseason. Both will be eased back into activity, but it’s expected they’ll be a full go by the regular season. Capela had a PRP injection in his Achilles tendon, and he’ll gradually ramp up activity with the hope that he’s ready to go by the season.
“We have a few other guys that we’re going to kind of bring along slowly,” Schlenk said. “Obviously (Onyeka Okongwu’s) not going to be a full go, and hopefully he’ll be ready at the end of December, first of January coming off his shoulder surgery. … Kevin had a procedure on his ankle, cleaned out after the season; he’s kind of on the same track as De’Andre. He’ll be participating in camp but not a full go, but we’re going to build him up, so hopefully by the start of the season he’ll be full-go. And then also Bogi is in the same boat.
“He obviously as you guys all know was dealing with the tendon stuff in his knee. He had some PRP injections, or stem-cell injections in it over the summer, so he’s been playing 1-on-1 with those guys. We’ll bring him along slowly to start camp. But again the expectation is he’ll be 100% go by the start of the season. And then for Clint, I forgot him, Clint had the PRP injection in his Achilles, the same procedure Cam (Reddish) had done, but again, we’ll bring him along slowly with the hope he’s ready to go at the start of the season.”
Okongwu, who had shoulder surgery on a torn labrum in July, has set a personal goal of returning by the end of December, per Schlenk, though the team still is expecting him back around January.
“He’s marked the end of December on his personal calendar,” Schlenk said. “He’s been back here for the past two months working his tail off and things are going great. We’re still going to shoot to have him back in that January range. If he comes back early, great. That’s what he’s marked on his calendar.