Hawks without Trae Young for at least four weeks

The Hawks will be without their star guard Trae Young for the next month, the team announced on Sunday.

During Friday’s game against the Raptors, Young suffered a left hand injury.

After an MRI yesterday at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex, doctors diagnosed Young with a tear of the radial collateral ligament (RCL) in the fifth finger of his left hand. He will have surgery to repair the RCL on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York.

The team will re-evaluate Young in four weeks.

Young’s injury comes as a blow to the Hawks, who have dealt with several major injuries this season. The Hawks have already had to navigate through forward Jalen Johnson’s month-long absence due to a distal radius fracture of his wrist at the end of November. They also needed to remain creative with the rotation during forward De’Andre Hunter’s 19-game absence from Dec. 26 to Jan. 30.

The team has also had to deal with the absence of their starting center Clint Capela, who missed six games leading into the All-Star break. Meanwhile, backup big man Onyeka Okongwu is expected to miss at least two weeks with a left big toe sprain.

This is the first time this season that the Hawks have had to navigate a major injury in their backcourt, though both Young and Dejounte Murray have missed games here or there.

Young’s injury comes fresh off of his third All-Star nod as he has averaged 26.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 10.8 assists.

”Well, you feel awful for Trae more than anything,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said before Sunday’s game against the Magic. “And, hopefully, the recovery process will go quickly. But, there’s certain things that it’s hard to set an exact timeline on and just more than anything, get him a full recovery.

“And as I said, just knowing the competitor that he is, his history playing games. It’s going to be a challenge for him not to be able to be out there. And then I’ve said it before this is, because of the timing and his role on our team but we lost Jalen (Johnson), we lost him, guys, other teams lose guys. And I think I may have mentioned this last game, which is let’s control what we can control.

“And as they say, guys step up and across the board, and we’ve got guys that are capable and prepared to do that. And I believe in our team.”

The Hawks could start Bogdan Bogdanovic alongside Murray in the backcourt, though that leaves the team with limited bench scoring. The Hawks recalled rookie Kobe Bufkin from his assignment with their G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks, on Saturday. Young’s absence also opens up even more minutes for several of the team’s veterans including Garrison Mathews, who has averaged 12 minutes this season, as well as Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews.

The team cannot turn to guard Trent Forrest as they had in previous absences in the backcourt. Since Forrest is signed to a two-way contract, he can be available for a maximum of 50 games. Though Forrest has appeared in just 20 games this season, the team made him available for the maximum 50 and he reached that threshold on Feb. 9.

The Hawks still have time to decide on whether they want to waive anyone on the roster and make a spot available to convert Forrest to a standard contract. They have until March 1 to make that decision.