Hawks’ Hunter to miss approximately 8 weeks after wrist surgery

Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter, right, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Caption
Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter, right, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Credit: AP

In a tough blow for the Hawks, an MRI taken on De’Andre Hunter’s right wrist revealed a tendon injury that will require surgery, the team announced Sunday night.

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The surgery will take place Monday in Los Angeles, and he’s expected to return in approximately eight weeks, per the Hawks. The initial injury occurred during the Hawks’ loss in Golden State Nov. 8. That would keep Hunter out until about the second week of January — a good chunk of the season, but not season-ending, provided everything proceeds as planned.

Hunter missed the next game, a loss to Utah Nov. 9, but played in some of the loss in Denver Nov. 12. In that loss to the Nuggets, Hunter didn’t look full-strength, and he left the game in the second half with what the Hawks listed as right wrist soreness. After the loss, Hawks coach Nate McMillan said Hunter had entered the game with some soreness, and when he got a shot up in the second half, “it just didn’t feel right.”

This is not Hunter’s first injury that will keep him out long-term, as he struggled with swelling and soreness in his right knee for much of last season, playing in 23 regular-season games. He played in the Hawks’ first-round playoff series vs. the Knicks before undergoing meniscus surgery in June, missing the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals.

Coming back from that surgery, Hunter had a slower start to the season, averaging 10.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per game, but the hope was that Hunter would gradually return to his form before his initial knee injury last season. At his best, Hunter is a great defender who can also score and get to his own shot, all of which give the Hawks a boost, and they’ll certainly miss that presence on both ends of the floor.

Hunter missed the Hawks’ win vs. the Bucks Sunday, with wing Kevin Huerter taking his place in the starting lineup.

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