Horford competes in five-on-five scrimmage

The steps toward recovery are coming faster for Al Horford.

In fact, the Hawks center skipped one all together.

Horford participated in a five-on-five contact scrimmage Wednesday as he works his way back from a torn right pectoral muscle. On Tuesday, Horford took part in his first three-on-three scrimmage after three straight days of two-on-two work.

“I feel great,” Horford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution following the workout.

The plan was for Horford to work his way up to five-on-five competition. His progress has been such that he skipped four-on-four work. Horford expects to play in several exhibition games before the regular-season opener. The Hawks play at the Grizzlies Saturday. It would seem unlikely that Horford could play in that game with just a five-on-five practice scrimmage. The Hawks’ next exhibition games are at the Heat Tuesday and at the Bulls Thursday.

Horford has been out since suffering the injury Dec. 26. He had surgery to repair the torn muscle four days later.

Kent Bazemore, who has been limited coming off foot surgery, also took part in the five-on-five scrimmage for the first time in training camp.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said the plan is still to be cautious to ensure each player is ready for the season opener on Oct. 29.

“Each day they are making a little bit of progress,” Budenholzer said. “You always want to evaluate them to see how they come back the next day. You might even intentionally do a little bit less. We’ll see how they feel. But I think, luckily, they seem to be making the appropriate steps and progress that we want them to make.”

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