Hawks Jenkins lost for season after back surgery

John Jenkins’ painful sophomore season is over.

The Hawks’ second-year guard had lower back surgery Monday morning and will miss the rest of the season.

Jenkins has been plagued by the back issue since the summer. The latest recurrence of the issue came Dec. 26 when Jenkins was unable to play against the Cavaliers due to nerve pain in his left leg related to the back problem. At the time, Jenkins expressed his frustration with the lingering issue and said surgery was an option. He has missed the past 18 games due to the condition and last appeared in a game Dec. 20.

Jenkins thanked fans via social media Monday. He tweeted: 2-3-14…thanks for all the support and prayers. Be back stronger and better than ever! #JustWaitOnIt

The procedure was performed by Dr. Hal Silcox from the Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic in Atlanta. According to the Hawks, the 22-year-old Jenkins will undergo a period of rest and recovery followed by treatment and rehabilitation. No details of the surgery were released and no timetable for when Jenkins may resume basketball activities was given.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported last week that Jenkins was seriously considering and would most likely opt for surgery after a regime of rest and physical therapy proved ineffective.

Jenkins, a first-round pick from Vanderbilt (No. 23 overall) in 2012, appeared in just 13 games this season, averaging 3.1 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.2 minutes.

Teammate Mike Scott said he spoke to Jenkins Saturday night about the upcoming procedure.

“His mindset was that he just wanted to get it done, get it over with, get back healthy and get ready for the summer,” Scott said. “That was the main thing. I know he is hurting and he just wants to get this completely fixed so that he doesn’t have to worry about this anymore.”

The back problems started this summer when Jenkins was shut down for two months. The original problem was a ligament tear in his back which caused the leaking of fluids in the area and a bulging disk.

The issue came up again at the start of training camp and forced him to miss all but the final two exhibition games. He played sparingly this season and he continued to deal with the problem. He did a four-game stint in the NBA Development League in December.

“We all feel for John,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They have done everything they can to get him healthy and get him right without surgery. But everybody was in agreement that this was necessary for the longevity of his career and we are hoping he will be back healthy.”

As a rookie, the 6-foot-4 Jenkins appeared in 61 games and averaged 6.1 points in 14.8 minutes. He was 53 of 138 (.384) from 3-point range.

In December, the Hawks exercised their 2014-15 team option on Jenkins. He will receive $1.31 million in the third year of his rookie contract next season. The Hawks also have a team option for the 2015-16 season at $2.23 million and the right to make a qualifying offer for the 2016-17 season.

Pacers back in town: The Hawks host the Eastern Conferenence-leading Pacers Tuesday. The matchup comes after the Hawks won a 97-87 decision at home Jan. 8. The Hawks never trailed and led by as many as 17 points in the game, their 12th straight regular-season victory at Philips Arena over the Pacers.

The Hawks won despite getting more rebounds (six) and assists (five) than points (four) from now All-Star Paul Millsap.

“We’ll try to do what we did last time,” Scott said. “We’ll run them. They are big and long so we have to use our quickness and speed and try to out run them.”