After missing two games with a back injury, Hawks center Al Horford will play Saturday night against the Charlotte Bobcats at Philips Arena. Horford took part in the team’s morning shootaround and pronounced himself ready to go.
“I went out there and tested it out and I feel good for tonight,” he said.
Horford injured his lower back when he fell hard after getting fouled by the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin and landed on his back in the Hawks’ Feb. 4 win at Philips.
“Just his presence means all the world to us,” coach Larry Drew said.
Horford missed the team’s win over Washington last Saturday and its 34-point loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday. Horford sat out of Thursday’s practice and then took in part in non-contact portions of the team’s practice Friday.
“It’s been a little better each day, and today’s the best I’ve felt since it happened,” said Horford, recently named to his second All-Star team.
Horford will start at forward as the Hawks will go with their “big” lineup with Jason Collins at center. Drew said that lineup was not the lineup change he had mentioned in the wake of the team’s lethargic loss to Philadelphia.
Prior to Saturday, Drew had said that any changes would have to wait until Horford returned, adding that he may “possibly” still tweak the lineup.
“Had he not gotten hurt, I still would have played it this way,” Drew said.
Ken Sugiura, Hawks beat