The Hawks announced Wednesday that Clint Capela (right calcaneus contusion/plantar fasciitis) and Skal Labissiere (left knee chondral injury) have been cleared for impact activities, and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Capela and Labissiere had basketball workouts earlier in the day, coach Lloyd Pierce said, which includes jumping and finishing. It’s a good sign for the players acquired in trade deadline deals who have yet to play for Hawks, but it also means the team’s frontcourt depth issues will continue for at least six games as Capela (center) and Labissiere (forward/center) continue to rehab.
The Hawks play Oklahoma City March 18 - the date the pair will be re-evaluated - and could welcome the pair back for the home game against the Thunder, or they could miss more time. The Hawks (19-44) will have only 12 games remaining after the Oklahoma City matchup.
Although it may be frustrating Capela or Labissiere are unavailable to play, there’s really no reason to rush them back, considering the Hawks are 14th in the 15-team Eastern Conference standings and have yet to string three consecutive wins together this season.
When he was with Houston, Capela’s nagging right heel injury was stop-and-start, another argument to ensure he’s completely healthy before returning to action.
“I know it’s not at the level everybody’s wanting, or expecting, but it’s good that they’re progressing and are able to do a little bit more,” Pierce said. “... It’s just kind of where we are. I’m happy that they’re progressing and there haven’t been any setbacks with their injuries.”
The absence of Capela, though, is particularly glaring. With the Rockets, Capela was averaging 13.9 points and 13.8 rebounds per game this year, and he’s eager to bring his playoff experience and defensive voice to an exceptionally young Hawks team.
In the meantime, center Dewayne Dedmon has been cleared to practice after missing three games with right elbow pain, which gives the Hawks some size and rebounding. Bruno Fernando (4.5 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game) and Damian Jones (5.7 points, 3.8 rebounds) are also playing at center.
“I can’t control injuries or the timing to return from injury,” Pierce said. “I’ve got to worry about the guys that are there and help them. It’s hard to really worry about who’s hurt, when they’re coming back. I’m spending too much time if I’m doing that with things I can’t control. I just want the guys to be healthy, and I really want them focusing on that.”
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