Hawks’ Kris Dunn expected to return by end of March

Credit: Atlanta Hawks

Credit: Atlanta Hawks

Guard Kris Dunn, who has yet to make his Hawks debut because of injuries, is expected to return by the end of March, if everything goes according to plan.

Per Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, Dunn should be ready to go in a matter of weeks, unless Dunn has some sort of setback.

“If everything goes as planned, yes, when I spoke with (vice president of athletic performance and sports medicine Chelsea Lane) today, hopefully we’re talking about weeks,” Schlenk said.

Dunn is an excellent defender, and his return would be a huge boost for the Hawks’ defense, particularly in the backcourt.

In late November, after the Hawks acquired Dunn from the Bulls in free agency, he was diagnosed with “cartilage disruption” in his right knee. On Dec. 27, the team announced he was showing improvement on that front, but had began experiencing discomfort in his right ankle and lower back, with an MRI showing loose cartilage inhibiting his range of motion.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove that cartilage, was in a walking boot for two weeks and had been rehabbing ever since. On Feb. 17, the Hawks announced he underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection to address right knee discomfort, and after some rest would continue to rehab from his ankle surgery.

Basically, it has been a long road for Dunn, who ended up missing the entire first half of the season. But, he has been making good progress, Schlenk said.

The Hawks knew about Dunn’s knee issues when they acquired him, Schlenk said, but once they started looking into it more, they found out his ankle issues and knee issues were related. They encouraged Dunn to make the best decision that would help him out on both fronts, even if it meant he would miss more games in the meantime.

“He’s progressing well,” Schlenk said. “When we signed him last year, we knew, coming off of the knee injury, once we got here and started rehabbing the knee, what they found was the reason for, what caused the knee injury was the calcium in the ankle. And so, he had a decision. We met with he and his agent, and we could continue to go down the path of just rehabbing the knee and getting back out there, but the root of the problem was going to be calcium and there were just like little pebbles that were in his tendon, crazy little thing.

“... He made the decision, and we fully supported him to get that fixed, knowing that it would put us in a situation where he would miss the first half of the season and we’d get him back later on this month. So we’re always going to support the players when it comes to doing the right thing for them, medically.”