Breaking: Splitter to have season-ending surgery (updated)

The season is over for Tiago Splitter.

The Hawks reserve center has elected to have season-ending surgery on the right hip injury that has bothered him for much of the season. The team confirmed the procedure Tuesday evening after it was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Hawks shut down Splitter for six games prior to the All-Star break to give his right hip soreness time to heal after it flared up following a game against the Heat on Jan. 31. After a second medical opinion on the injury last week, surgery became an option. According to the Hawks, Splitter saw multiple specialists before ultimately choosing to have the procedure and abruptly end his first season with the Hawks. According to the team, the timing of the procedure is being finalized and Splitter’s status will be updated once it is completed.

Splitter, 31, also missed seven games with the injury in November and December and it has nagged him since. He also missed four games with a sore right calf.

Splitter expressed frustration with the injury recently.

“I am, I am a little bit,” Splitter told The AJC when asked whether he was frustrated last month. “At the same time, I’m working hard to get back. I want to play. It has been a little bit frustrating.”

Splitter appeared in 36 games, including two starts, and averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.1 minutes. When healthy, Splitter was the first reserve off the bench. The team went 21-15 in games in which he played and 10-9 in those he did not.

The Hawks acquired Splitter from the Spurs, where he spent his first five NBA seasons, on July 9 for the draft rights to Georgios Prentezis and a future second-round pick. He made $8.5 million this season and is due $8.25 million next season to complete a four-year, $36 million deal.

Splitter won an NBA Championship with the Spurs. He averaged 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.8 minutes in his 331 games over five years with the Spurs.

Mike Muscala has played the bulk of the minutes in place of Splitter of late. In the six games in the month of February, Muscala averaged 6.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.3 minutes. He had a field goal percentage of .682 (15 of 22).

It remains to be seen whether the Hawks choose to make a move by the NBA trade deadline of Thursday at 3 p.m. to replace Splitter.

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