Trae Young returns to practice, absence deemed ‘miscommunication’

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Hawks saw the return of Trae Young to practice on Sunday after the star guard missed Friday’s game against the Nuggets.

Hawks coach Nate McMillan initially deemed Young, as well as several other players listed as questionable on the injury report, as a game-time decision. Then the team completely ruled out Young 30 minutes before the game tipped off.

Young had been dealing with shoulder soreness since the Hawks’ matchup against the 76ers last Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Hawks (13-10) defeated the Nuggets without three starters. Young was the only player not on the bench. In fact, he was not at State Farm Arena at all.

Injured players often miss games on the road when they elect to remain at home to get treatment or additional conditioning. The absence of a player on the team’s bench for a home game is rare.

When asked by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution what reasons may account for a player’s absence from the bench during a home game, McMillan gave a brief answer.

“Just as simple as that,” he said. “It was just miscommunication in that situation with Trae.”

When asked later by the AJC for clarification on whether Young was supposed to be at the arena, McMillan reiterated that it was a miscommunication and declined to answer any further questions on the issue.

The AJC confirmed a report from The Athletic Sunday evening that Young and McMillan disagreed on the guard’s participation at Friday’s shootaround. Young wanted to focus on treatment on his shoulder during shootaround, while McMillan suggested during the team’s walk-through. When Young declined to participate in shootaround, McMillan offered him the option of either playing off the bench or miss Friday’s game entirely. Young opted to miss the game and the team ruled him out.

It is team policy that a player must participate in shootaround in order to start a game.

The Athletic also reported that the team has held multiple meetings to resolve “various conflicts” and that the latest situation has led to some within the organization questioning the guard’s leadership.

Dejounte Murray led all scorers with 34 points and eight assists for the Hawks in the 117-109 win over the Nuggets as John Collins, De’Andre Hunter and Young were out. AJ Griffin added 24 points.

The Hawks had nearly full participation at practice on Sunday, excluding Collins, Hunter, Trent Forrest and Justin Holiday. The team already ruled out Collins and Hunter for the upcoming week, while Forrest entered concussion protocol. McMillan said that Holiday is still testing and not ready to return.

The Hawks will face the Thunder (10-13) on Monday night.