Injury concerns for Hawks?


 

Smile Joe, you're rocking the new red jersey man.

Smile Joe, you're rocking the new red jersey my man. And for once, an alternate uniform actually looks good.

 

HAWKSVILLE – After a reasonably injury-free preseason the Hawks came crashing back to reality Sunday.

Al Horford sat on a corner table with wires hanging from his ankle (courtesy of a twisting in Friday’s loss in Orlando) and Mike Bibby joined him later on wire duty (on his non-shooting wrist) after jamming it during a drill in practice.

That scowl on Hawks coach Mike Woodson’s face, also a product of Friday’s dismal showing against Magic, immediately turned into a look of worry.

Woodson hadn’t planned on either his starting center or point guard being questionable for Wednesday’s regular season opener against Indiana at Philips Arena.

But as of this morning there’s some concern that one or both of them will be forced to play at less than 100 percent against the Pacers.

“Al tweaked his ankle and he tried to go a little bit [Sunday], but he said it wasn’t responding,” Woodson said. “I hope both of these guys are ready.”

Woodson said he would know more after today’s practice, which wraps up early this afternoon (check back here for more updates as the day goes on).

I asked Woodson what he would do if either one of them isn’t ready to play Wednesday night and he admitted that he hadn’t thought about that yet; he’s understandably holding out hope that both will be fine (and in all likelihood, they should be able to play).

But what happens if they do have to sit?

What would you do?

Mario West isn’t around anymore to insert into the lineup on those crazy nights when you need a fill-in starter and want to keep your bench rotation the way you like it. So it’s a dilemma the Hawks surely aren’t interested in having to deal with on the eve of the season.

My easy answer to fix this problem, if it actually becomes a problem, is to go with Jamal Crawford at the point and Zaza Pachulia as fill in starters.

NEW UNIFORMS?

So the Hawks unveiled their new red, alternate uniforms (above) at the Paint the Town affair Sunday, huh?

Funny, I remember seeing these things in the summer. Or at least a very real knock off. I like the red joints. I even like the ATL on the chest (even though I’d have loved to see the Pac-Man logo brought back just to clown). I’d much rather they come with the red stuff than one of those two-tone alternate sets like the Wizards sport or a silver get up like the Mavericks sport every once in a while. And they’re much better than those pale yellow joints that the Hawks rocked a couple years back.

If you’re not a fan of the new stuff, don’t fret. From what I understand the Hawks won’t be wearing these new uniforms much this season.

VIDEO SELECTION OF THE DAY

Injury news aside, Horford is caliente in the streets these days. Not only is he a part of the NBA’s new Hispanic marketing campaign, there’s some fresh video circulating of him being interviewed for CNN’s “Latino in America” series. In case you missed it:

 

MAGIC REDUX

As you might imagine, the Magic game was the topic of discussion for several observers. The recurring theme was that they were glad the Hawks got smacked around a little bit and that it served as the wake-up call needed for a team that had gotten a little comfortable abusing other teams during the preseason.

“That game was a perfect illustration of what we can’t do this season, against anybody,” one keen observer pointed out. “Orlando is so good inside and out that you have to pick your poison and just deal with it. We doubled Dwight Howard in the first half and did a pretty good job of limiting him but they shot lights out from deep and buried us. After halftime we stopped doubling Dwight and he ate us alive. That was a tactical error on our part. By then the shooters were already in a rhythm and we couldn’t do anything to slow them down inside or out. They just took us apart. That’s what will happen to you against a great team like that, and I don’t care what anybody says, that’s a great team. Orlando making [the NBA Finals] was the worst thing that could happen to the rest of us. They didn’t even need Rashard [Lewis] the other night and they ran away with it. They’re going to do that to a lot of people this year.”

I mentioned that I thought the Hawks’ strategy to play the Magic in a half court game was as flawed as always, only to be reminded that the Hawks couldn’t run with the Magic making nearly 70 percent of their shots during on stretch. But my point remains, the Hawks will never have a half court advantage against the Magic. Dwight is too big and dominant. And Jameer Nelson can probe the defense and find shooters all day long if you’re working just half the floor. The Hawks waxed the Magic to start last season by beating them up and down the floor and forcing the action. I said it then and I’ll say it again, that’s the blueprint they need to use every night. Every single night.

HOT TRACKS

Veteran big man Joe Smith (aka Joe Beast) is a bit of a lyrical star himself, having owned his own record company for years and showing off MC skills some of his NBA brethren wish they had. He’s whipped up an intro song for the Hawks that he played in the locker room after Sunday’s practice that had a menacing sound to it (there were heads bouncing as it played. It had me bouncing, too, for pure clown effect, of course). Seriously, it sounds good. I’m working on locating a bootleg copy of the track for you to hear before it hits the charts. In the meantime, check out this playoff track he cooked up for Cleveland last season:

255 comments Add your comment

Dekaturkingz

October 26th, 2009
9:18 am

ATL Stand Up!!!

AJ-HangTime

October 26th, 2009
9:23 am

First….?A?A?

AJ-HangTime

October 26th, 2009
9:24 am

I admit that “first” thing is cheesy, but I couldn’t resist. Now that I got that out of my system…..

ILL-logical

October 26th, 2009
9:45 am

What is it with Atlanta pro teams and the media spotlight? It seems like every time there is a chance to shine , they get their behinds handed to them.
Case in point: The Falcons -Cowboys “game”. Like the Hawks , this year was being touted as a breakout year with a “star”, Matt Ryan(insert Joe here foe Hawks analogy) leading the team to the playoffs. With Coach Smith , a defensive coach,( insert Woodson here)leading the way.

Well, the GM genius (insert guess who here) drafted two defensive players who had a long history of injury as starters and they are where? Injured. Oh, and the size anology is painful: the Falcons refuse to hire any defensive back over 5′9″ and the Hawks want all of their players to be 6′9″.

Seriously, both teams are progressing but these total meltdowns in big games is not encouraging at all.

Ariose

October 26th, 2009
9:48 am

a1andonly

October 26th, 2009
9:48 am

ATL all day. The reason they didn’t show up to Friday’s game was because they were thinking about those R. Kelly after parties goin’ down in Atlanta. Plus its preseason. They would like to avoid injuries. AL hurt himself during this “preseason game.” Go Hawks. All Dwight does is dunk and get put back. Boring!!!! He’ll never be Like Shaq!!!!

Ariose

October 26th, 2009
9:48 am

Ariose

October 26th, 2009
9:49 am

Like I said, Just play man to man defense and Hack howard….Easy win.

bigdave

October 26th, 2009
9:55 am

i like the new digs…

Ariose

October 26th, 2009
9:55 am

Dwight didn’t look much Bigger than AL in the game tho….He’s only 6′11. Just Hyper Athletic…

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
10:05 am

Ill- It was a bad weekend for us. I didn’t even win the tickets, but we gotta move on. Both teams are improving and the Hawks loss did not count. All will be forgotten with a couple of big wins this weekend.

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
10:08 am

I am not a fan of the alternate jersey. I like the colors, just the oversize ATL looks stupid. It looks like they are trying to be hip, but are about 4 years too late for the whole ATL, vibe. The same lettering with HAWKS, would be cooler.

G-Dot

October 26th, 2009
10:08 am

Joe “The Beast” Smith put it down on that track. Can’t wait to hear his Hawks version.

Sekou Smith

October 26th, 2009
10:09 am

I’m sick you didn’t win Daniel. Worst news I’ve had since Penn State destroyed my Wolverines Saturday evening. Plan B?

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
10:13 am

I will say that the Orlando loss is exactly the kind of loss that the Hawks cannot afford this year. We had so many blowout losses last year for a team that had a winning record; it was unnerving. I expect a few more wins this season (5-7), but I really expect a significant drop in blow out losses!!!!!

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
10:15 am

Appreciate that Sekou, I did get tickets to three games. I guess I will pick up a couple more here and there. My wife even offered to forgo Christmas to buy some season tickets, but I can’t be that selfish. So it is what it is. I really was disappointed because I had suggested several times that we just split the tickets no matter who won, and I would have. But, the other dude just ran out the door.

O'Brien

October 26th, 2009
10:27 am

Sekou,

I agree. Start Jamal at the point, and then when Teague comes in, Jamal can give JJ a breather.

Why is it that so many of us can see that the Hawks need to run more, but Woody can’t? And in 5 years, where are his in game adjustments?

Blindog

October 26th, 2009
10:32 am

It will be the same as it ever was with Woodson still here.Vagas gives the Hawks no respect for that very reason. plane and simple!

Mike is back

October 26th, 2009
10:35 am

Sekou that was a hooooot track. Can’t wait to hear the Hawks version. It was cool to hear the observers ditto the same comments I made on about the blow loss to Orlando on the previous blog.

I also stated it is on Woodson this season…I can understand him not wanting to reveal his new strategy to a division rival…I hope that was the case…however I didn’t see the game…but the sound bite about the offense still sounds the same as last season and that is a concern for me.

Stevie Wonder can see that you can’t run plays for Al against DHoward strait up going to the hole…this guys has terrorize guys 6’11’ thru 7’4” , AL is 6’10”, ”CMON MAN” the picture in the blog says it all. DW is a beast…that’s a bad matchup for AL…you got a run some back screen from the opposite and some misdirection to give guys like AL and Josh a chance to use their and athleticism and quickness on guys like DW…other that they are going to struggle against the elite Bigs in the league. The sentiment about the Hawks remains the same …WOODY GOT TO RELEASE THE HOOOOOOOOOUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Khao$

October 26th, 2009
10:38 am

I agree with you Sekou. The Hawks should be running guys up and down the court. That is clearly their strength. The personel, as currently constructed, is built for that type of game. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t have a half court game. However, our staple should be running and gunning.

**That said…how do you explain us not fully embracing a running offense?** Is it the players not being in the best condition to play this frantic style of play or do you think Woody is reluctant?

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
10:46 am

Mike- I like the idea that Woody didn’t want to show his hand and just run a vanilla set. I had not really thought about that, but I am not sure I believe it either. I hope you are right. The Hawks just looked flat and scared to be honest. Looks like they gave up.

Westurd

October 26th, 2009
10:46 am

Two days until tip off……….ATL Throwing it DOWN!

vava74

October 26th, 2009
11:11 am

Why don’t we keep the tar and feathers on hold for a little while before we run Woody out of town?

Right now ATL is 0-0 and so is ORL.

We had a very bad game and a lot of last year’s mistakes re-emerged but we were playing back to back games, after a comfortable win on the road against MIA and against a an ORL team which clearly wanted to show us something.

This was a clear case of ORL showing their best against ATL showing its worse. Let’s wait and see who is favored by the average.

Ultimately there is limit to what a coach can instill a team to do. Don’t get me wrong but I will again raise the example extracted from the media day when Josh simply questioned the play Woody designed: we don’t know how undisciplined the players behaved after the win against Miami, if they sticked to plan or not, etc… It looks like JJ said that he was disappointed with team’s performance which seems a pretty obvious acknowledgement that they (including himself) did not execute what they were supposed to.

And Samuel, Vince’s game was a fluke (as was Anderson’s who even got blocked against twice): everyone plays him soft and he usually goes 2/8 from downtown.

His accomplishments have been always below what his potential allowed him to achieve.

Sautee

October 26th, 2009
11:21 am

Sekou,

Right on the money regarding the Hawks “need for speed”.

Why are we NOT USING our best asset?

I fervently hope that you will beat that drum LOUDLY if we ignore the running game!!!

Mz. Hawkdafied

October 26th, 2009
11:42 am

The red jersey is very vibrant in contrast to the blue depressing road jersey. Or perhaps the blue one depresses me because it reminds me of 30-40pt blowouts. Kinda disappointing to know the team will still be sporting the blue jersey most of the time. I’d prefer the red.

Al Horford and Bibby injured? You gotta be kidding me. Talking about adding insult to injury. Over 30 pt blowout and injuries to two of your starters. OH LORD, SMH :-/

GeeMack

October 26th, 2009
12:15 pm

Daniel

I was listening to the radio Friday when they anounced the winner. Better luck next time homie.

The injuries are another excuse the Hawks will use for not getting off to a good start. The same excuses we used last year for not competing in the playoffs against Clevland, eventhough we spent the off season addressing our depth.

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
12:20 pm

Appreciate that Gee!

Mz. Hawkdafied- I hadn’t thought about that with the Blue uni’s but I totally agree with your point. what about the big ATL though?

cdog

October 26th, 2009
12:46 pm

sekou ,is there any chance of bringing back siller and west?

tiger woo

October 26th, 2009
12:48 pm

I was hoping the Hawks broke their habit of falling way behind early in games – happened too often last year.

Wouldn’t worry too much about this game – the Hawks simply didn’t shoot well enough to compete with a loaded (re-loaded) Orlando squad.

Mike is back

October 26th, 2009
12:53 pm

Daniel, I hear ya bro…I try to start each season off with a fresh perspective. Orlando is going to be a tough customer as long as they got DHoward. Lest hope that the Hawks gleaned something from this beat down they can use to attack Orlando when real game rolls around. lol

Personally, I can go with either color on the uni as long as we are getting Ws…The red uni does seem like a nice change of pace…that ATL is hard.

Sekou, with the injury to AL…I wonder if there have been some overtures to Siler or another Big…in cast we take hit on our thin front-line?????

JSS

October 26th, 2009
1:12 pm

Folks, put Friday night in the mirror or we will be in for a world of hurt on Wednesday night!

Sekou, you should have been kinder to my Eagles (Hurons); Joe PA may have taken pity on ya… Dang, Lloyd Carr is not looking so bad now is he?

vava74

October 26th, 2009
1:21 pm

After experiencing a blow out loss like this in which – apparently as reported by who watched the game – we felt a “talent gap” and a defensive inability to stop both ORL’s perimeter shooting and inside game, how can anyone suggest, as I saw on the previous blog and here today:

1. Trading JJ for K. Martin (injury prone, zero defense) and Nocioni (another undersized PF with no post game);

2. Trading JJ for Stephen Jackson, a chronic malcontent, who would bring zero defense and who is an offensive black-hole AND Turiaf, an undersized C, a personal foul machine with no hops (I challenge anyone to prove that he jumps any higher than Zaza).

3. Bring back Siler and West: one extremely raw big body and the other a limited utility man as if these guys would change the outlook of our game!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind like them both as 14th and 15th players.

Let’s keep our heads cool!!!

Monitoring the voice of ignorance

October 26th, 2009
1:29 pm

Crawford nor Teague have yet to play a regular season game for the Hawks. Whats the Emotional and irrational diarria about using our assest of speed? Run and Gun gets you to the play offs…maybe, but a half court offense is what take you deep into the playoff. You need an low post offensive scorer to have a legitimate half court offense, something that the hawks lack.

The reality is the Hawks dont have enough talent to compete with the big three. They have one second tier allstar in Joe Johnson ,potential in smoove/marvin and a good player in crawford. Other than that the hawks are slightly less than average.

Quit whinning. this is a decent team not a championship team. Wake up whiners.

I MUS WRITE

October 26th, 2009
1:38 pm

Come on….. I for one could care less about Joe Smith’s rap lyrics or his record label that no one has ever heard of. I more concerned about his game` is he ready to step in behind Smoove and make a contribution. If Al is out im cool with ZAZA starting. Thats why we signed these guys -Im not sure that Crawford wouldnt be a better fit starting anyway so…
Ariose -Dwight and Al might look the same size but its no contest, Dwight just man handled Horford and got anywhere he wanted in th post,but he does that to everybody except the lakers/Shaq
Al is a hard worker but he will get his lunch ate against most teams with big strong front lines-Orl,La,Cleveland….. I think we are stuck in the 4th/5th sedd for the next cupl years -You cant win at a high clip when ur C and PF are 6′9 and 6′8. Shaq is sumwhere lick his chops .

Daniel- I can live with the Orlando loss but we cant afford to lose to teams like NJ on back to back games like last year. We have to win winnable games develope an identity and possibly shake the lineup up a little.
Wednesday will be intrestin… Indiana is a solid team…Hibbert much improved big,Murphy-all he does is shoot 3’s and avg 12 boards a gam,Granger maybe better than our so called Allstar,Rush/Ford are solid.
Solo is gonna take sumbody out just because. Good measuring stick for us…we shall see
Bad weekend for the ATL sports fan- hawks and Falcons go down crashing back to earth….Well atleast tech won and are now sitting on topp of the ACC.

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
1:42 pm

WOW, Monitoring etc.– Thanks for that assesment. I really appreciate that in depth insight and critique of the team. I had no idea that I was “asleep” to be concerned about how my team plays or hope/expect them to get better. Thank you for your reminder that we need to accept mediocrity or become a bunch of whiners. Clearly, the fans here have a bunch of unreasonable expectations… I guess we should reserve passion or fandom until we get a superstar. Do you mind telling us when we can appropriately support our team?

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
1:46 pm

IMUS- Word on the Joe Smith comments.
Danny Granger is NOT better than Joe. I will stand behind that one.
True, thank goodness for GT, otherwise we would have had a major downer of a weekend. I kinda of did anyway, but I had a lot of fun playing with my daughter, which is what is really important anyway.

terrell barron

October 26th, 2009
1:46 pm

So what if Al is a little nicked up. It’s not like Woody he’s going to get a lot of touches in Woody’s so called offense. Just plug Collins or Zaza in there and move on. If we cant beat Indiana at home, just because Horford is out, we’re not going anywhere anyway.

terrell barron

October 26th, 2009
1:47 pm

“It’s not like he’s going to get a lot of touches”

JeJe

October 26th, 2009
1:51 pm

THIS TEAM HAS NO REBOUNDING, DOES NOT CRASH THE GLASS, SCORES NO EASY BASKETS, HAS NO SHOTBLOCKING, AND NO IDENTITY

SOMEONE PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG.

The Truth

October 26th, 2009
2:10 pm

JJ publicly saying that he is disappointed with the team’s performance is disturbing to me. There are subliminal messages in his statement that suggests he is growing frustrated and is ready to move on. As he used words like “It’s discouraging. Sometimes, you never know what you’re going to get from this team. And that won’t work.” For your leader to feel this way, is he already throwing the team under a bus before the season starts? Is this a CYA move to keep his quest for elite status alive and untarnished? I hope not. Even though he may speak the truth, shouldn’t that type of discussion be made unpublicized? When JJ starts airing dirty laundry, not only will the team be exposed but he will as well.

As I reflect again on the blow-out lose to Orlando via my DVR, I noticed the stagnated Hawks offense was punctuated by the excessive amount of ISO plays ran for JJ. It was apparent that over 50% of the Hawk’s offense was basically a 2-man game between Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson. As the ball is passed to JJ mostly in the corners, he is either getting trapped causing turn-overs or he takes bad shots. When JJ is successful passing out of double or triple-team back to Bibby who is wide-open, he also miss too many shots. If both of these guys start out flat this way and that becomes 50% of the 1st quart offense, then it’s automatic that the Hawks will start behind if the opponent starts out hot as Orlando did. The Hawks offense gets stalled this way and also because there is no movement without the ball by the players. They may occasionally pass the ball around but they are just standing and don’t move around. When that happens, the defenders can begin to cheat and gamble with their man to setup traps and steals. Orlando did this all night long. So as JJ and Bibby goes, the Hawk team goes.

So if JJ is disappointed with anyone, he needs to look himself in the mirror because he is mostly the offense (by design). Everyone else on this team just supports him. If we are inconsistent, it is because of him. If we lay an egg on national TV it is because of him. If we self-destruct in big games, it is because of him. So goes JJ, so goes the Hawks. The opponents know that as that is the reason he is always double and/or triple team. To beat the Hawks, you just need to beat JJ.

It is very hypocritical of JJ to publicly make these comments when he is the majority of the offense when the game is on the line. So as JJ ponders whether he is an elite player, maybe the answer to that question will soon be revealed if not already.

Harry Hawk

October 26th, 2009
2:25 pm

The Falcons’ D isn’t good enough to hold up very well in the bright lights. I think the Falcons are in decent shape, but the offense has to be a lot better. They have to be able to put a lot of points up. That just hasn’t happened this year. If something doesn’t change, they’ll probably be an 8-8 or 9-7 team. I’d take 9-7 even with a missed postseason because it would get rid of the ol’ “no back-to-back winning seasons” thing, but this team is capable of doing more than that.

As far as the Hawks are concerned, is this team really all that great? No. We also know that we don’t have a very good head coach. I can’t see the Hawks cracking the top three in the East. I also can’t see them getting past the second round. It’s almost like we’re witnessing the 1990s all over again. This particular team is just more interesting than the Smitty-Mookie-Deke teams.

Willie Coyote

October 26th, 2009
2:30 pm

I like the red alternates. I was the happiest of all when they changed the uniforms a couple of years ago because those things they wore during the 13-win season were horrible and should have been burned. I do wish they had kept the old color scheme though (red-yellow-black).

I can’t wait for Wednesday. Lets get the taste of that debacle in Orlando out of our mouthes and start off strong.

bigdave

October 26th, 2009
3:03 pm

hey, “The Truth”…

how much of that blame are you given to the head coach for a poorest design of an offense…

the best players to ever play the game have never been asked of such…

bigdave

October 26th, 2009
3:04 pm

* “have you given”

Daniel

October 26th, 2009
3:08 pm

The Truth- I cannot disagree with any of your statements on their face value. I do think it is a little early to be that harsh. You may be right, but I hope you are wrong.

cp

October 26th, 2009
3:08 pm

The offense still looks as terrible as it has under Woodson from day 1. Still no adjustments.. Joe still cant pass out of a double team. We still switch on defense although the good teams just force us into a match-up that benefits them. What has Woodson been working on as a coach this whole summer? And please no Nique in the booth this year. I cant take another year of heat check.

The Truth

October 26th, 2009
3:10 pm

bigdave

Plenty; I can only shot one at a time. When JJ opens his mouth that way, then naturally, he gets the first round of bullets.

The Truth

October 26th, 2009
3:19 pm

Daniel

Sometimes The Truth “hurts”. As always, though, my comments are meant for constructive purposes only. I have no agenda.

O'Brien

October 26th, 2009
3:23 pm

The only reason JJ is our captain and so called leader is because since he’s been here, he’s been our best player. However, he only leads by example, and it seems to me that the only time he opens his mouth is when he talks to the media.

Obviously, I could be wrong because I am not privy to the locker room conversations. But when JJ is on the court, he doesnt get on the refs, and he doesnt get on his teamates. I want a leader who will speak up on the court, during timeouts etc. Get on your teamates when they’re making simple mistakes, fire up the team when they’re lacking energy etc.

All JJ does is walk to the huddle, and walkback to the court. No comments, no nothing. And thats the reason why publications are always saying the Hawks dont have a leader. (Although the acquisition of Bibby has helped in that regard).

In time, I think Big Al will be our captain. And he will be a much better leader than JJ.

The Truth

October 26th, 2009
3:28 pm

O’Brien

Good point