Hawks’ Bogdan Bogdanovic focused on each step in recovery from knee surgery

There still are some things that Hawks sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic needs to get through in his rehab, but the team has seen plenty of positives in his progress.

The Hawks wing underwent knee surgery in May and was expected to miss at least three months. Bogdanovic did not play in any of the Hawks’ exhibition games ahead of the regular season to give him time to properly work himself back into playing condition.

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He has missed the Hawks’ first five games and has not completed a full practice. He mostly has been limited to light shooting work and light drills. During the media portion of the team’s practice Thursday, though, it appeared that Bogdanovic had begun to work on his conditioning.

“I’m back to the court activities, and I feel good, just a little out of basketball shape,” Bogdanovic told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You know, I need a rhythm back, you know, change of direction, explosive moves. But now I’m focusing on that.”

This has been a new mental challenge for Bogdanovic to overcome since he hasn’t missed this much playing time in his professional career. He said that it has been an adjustment as he tries to remain patient and avoid rushing back too early.

“It’s mentally tough,” he said. “Like, as a basketball player, you know when you’re ready. You know when you’re, like, ready to go. And that mental part, you wake up in the morning, and you go to bed, and you think you’re ready. And then the next day you do work out and you feel a little, like, slow. So that’s the mentally toughest part, but like I said, good challenge, new challenge. Great.”

Until then, he’s been able to lean on his teammates, and he has relished the opportunity to join them on the Hawks’ first road trip of the season. He said it has made the time go faster and challenges him to try to meet them where they are.

To help him get there, Bogdanovic has been building off of the shooting work he did all summer, while taking the opportunity to pick the brain of Kyle Korver. The Hawks hired Korver during the offseason as their new director of player affairs and development, and he has been quick to share his expertise with the team.

When Bogdanovic shoots at the end of practices, Korver often has been by his side. Since Bogdanovic will have to make adjustments to his shot following his surgery, Korver has offered tips on how to make it a possibility. Korver has broken down the mechanics of stepping into the shot, explaining to Bogdanovic that a shorter stride will use certain muscles and potentially take stress off of his knee.

“He helped me a lot, you know, especially through the challenging times, where I couldn’t, like, figure it out, how to make that transition, from use, to what I’m doing in the weightlifting room with the strength coaches, and everybody else, (physical therapy), how to translate it on the court,” Bogdanovic said. “So he was helping me a lot in that position, using certain muscles when I’m getting in the shot.”

The Hawks have not announced a set timeline for when Bogdanovic will return to the rotation. But he is pleased that there haven’t been any setbacks. So, he’ll continue to take things one step at a time.

“It’s great,” Bogdanovic said. “I mean, I didn’t have any setback that I felt like, ‘OK, now, last week, I was doing something that this week, I can’t.’ It never happened. I was hoping I (would) be ready for the beginning of the season. That didn’t happen, but that’s just you know, part of recovery, part of that. And it’s been great, you know, just step by step.”