Millsap practices, closer to return

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

There was some more good news coming from the Hawks on the injury front.

The Hawks will be without starters Paul Millsap and Thabo Sefolosha for Saturday’s game at the Bulls. However, Millsap participated in about 70 percent of practice Friday in Chicago. Signs are pointing toward a return soon for the starting power forward who has missed the past seven games with what was diagnosed as synovitis in his left knee after an MRI exam last week. Millsap also had a non-surgical procedure to help with the swelling and fluid buildup in his knee.

The Hawks ruled Millsap out for three game after the diagnosis, games against the Suns, 76ers and Bulls. The Hawks also play at the Nets on Sunday and then have three days off before hosting the Celtics on Thursday. The Hawks are 2-5 in the recent games without Millsap with wins in the past two games. They are 2-8 without Millsap this season after he missed three games earlier this season with a hip injury. Millsap is the Hawks’ leading scorer and ranks second in rebounds, assists and steals.

Sefolosha has missed the past three games with a right groin strain. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer did not offer a timetable on his return before Wednesday’s win over the 76ers.

Kent Bazemore returned Wednesday and came off the bench after missing five games with a bone bruise in his right knee. Bazemore scored 19 points, with four 3-pointers, in 20 minutes. He is expected to come off the bench again against the Bulls be limited to 20 minutes or slightly more.

Mike Dunleavy missed Wednesday’s game with soreness in his right ankle. His status was upgraded to probable.

The Hawks (39-36) have seven games remaining in the regular season. They are fifth in the Eastern Conference heading into Friday’s NBA schedule.