Atlanta Hawks: Mixed signals from Al Horford on injury

Perhaps this is to be expected considering this is Al Horford’s first major injury. Or maybe it’s all part of some gamesmanship from Horford and the Hawks, who would rather the Celtics not have too much info about his progress.

But to judge by Horford’s comments over the past few days, he’s conflicted about if and when he can play in the postseason.

Last Thursday Horford told Chris Vivlamore he was “frustrated” by the pace of his progress and that he’s “not where I need to be.” By yesterday, Horford was telling Jeff Schultz that there’s a 70 percent chance he would play against the Celtics, saying: “I don’t know if it’s the smartest thing for me physically but I want to be out there and I feel like it’s realistic.”

Now today Horford told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports that it’s actually not realistic that he can play in the postseason, saying: “[A]s of right now the way I feel I think I am out for the playoffs.” But he even hedged that statement by suggesting he could play if the Hawks advance past the first round.

(UPDATE: Now Horford tells Spears that not only will he be ready for the playoffs, he plans to play in Thursday’s regular-season finale against Dallas. Like I said, we may not know if Horford will play until he actually takes the court or the season ends and he hasn’t played.)

Maybe all of this uncertainty is why Larry Drew has consistently played down the possibility of Horford returning.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed but we are not totally counting on him,” Drew said yesterday. “We don’t want to have wishful thinking. When they told us about the surgery, that the probability [of return] would be very slim, at that point made our mind up we would not get him back.”

It looks like we may not know for sure until Horford actually takes the court or the playoffs end with Horford still on the sidelines.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

150 comments Add your comment

Nanny

April 23rd, 2012
1:41 pm

Horford needs to suck it up and get out there. He has all offseason to rest his pecs. Without him, we have no chance of advancing.

Rob

April 23rd, 2012
1:44 pm

Joe for 3

April 23rd, 2012
1:45 pm

Calm down, Nanny. If he can contribute, he will be out there.

Jody

April 23rd, 2012
1:49 pm

Yeah, let’s rush the Hawks all-star big man back out there so he can risk further injury in a series the Hawks are likely to lose anyway. Yeah, that makes alot of sense.

Andy

April 23rd, 2012
1:56 pm

Any update on Zaza?

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 23rd, 2012
2:00 pm

Well Done!

” … When they told us about the surgery, that the probability [of return] would be very slim, at that point made our mind up we would not get him back.” -Drew-
______________

Then, why wasn’t this man immediately replaced. There were some options out there to back up Zaza. (Kaman?)

@Nanny … Remind me never to leave my kids with this lady. Suck it up?

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 23rd, 2012
2:05 pm

Poor Management!

This is what happens when you have 8 owners and ‘Nam one of them have ever played professional sports. These ASKG people are clueless.

The GM, has told everybody to “get healthy?” Is that all he got to help build his roster? A mandate? What a perennial loser Sund is. Do your job Sund, or just do us all a favor – and, LEAVE!

Paul

April 23rd, 2012
2:07 pm

You all didn’t want him, so you all can’t start complaining now! Shut up and get it done, no excuses!

It’s either ECF or I want EVERYONE gone.

Steve

April 23rd, 2012
2:13 pm

Did ‘drmaryb’ just say “nam one of them”? I think I’m in love… lol

northcyde

April 23rd, 2012
2:13 pm

The only way I want a less than 100% Horford playing, is if it’s Game 7 of the EC Semis, and the Hawks big men are playing like crap. If you need him to play defense or rebound, then and only then do you play him.

You play him in absolute emergency situations only, if at all. He definitely shouldn’t play if he feels uncomfortable about playing. I could see a guy like Noah or Garnett “accidently” banging that shoulder.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 23rd, 2012
2:15 pm

No Excuses!

Who is “you all”? Two, three bloggers? Horfaord has more fans than haters. The real question is “management” did nothing to replace him, nor back up Zaza!

So, no excuses points towards management – not us fans! All we wanna’ do is WIN something for ONCE in our life time. Get your facts straight – to the guy named, Paul!

northcyde

April 23rd, 2012
2:18 pm

I tend to agree with drmaryb though. This looks like an injury that simply needs time to heal. So it’s probably in Al’s best interest to stay out. No need of him possibly ruining his career trying to be the Celtics in Round 1.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 23rd, 2012
2:19 pm

Let’s hope Zaza is “kick paddling” in the pool morning, noon and night on the daily and, getting ultra-sound therapy on his ankle and big toe. Also, walking in a boot when not. If not, that medical team needs to be fired too.

Big Lou

April 23rd, 2012
2:21 pm

If the guy is not 100%, then he should not play. Zaza can carry the load just fine. I am more worried about the coaching. Can LD get a shoulder injury and be out for the playoffs?

atlthrasha404

April 23rd, 2012
2:26 pm

It doesnt matter Horford just rest up. The celtics are going home in the first round anyway. But we will need him in round 2.

Joe for 3

April 23rd, 2012
2:30 pm

Big Lou – Zaza hasn’t played in 5 games. He hasn’t been carrying much of anything.

TMACfan

April 23rd, 2012
2:31 pm

We just need to focus on beating at least one of the two remaining teams on our schedule.

That will ensure us HC

atlthrasha404

April 23rd, 2012
2:38 pm

Yeah you right TMACfan. Homecourt advantage is vital to our success

Kobie

April 23rd, 2012
2:41 pm

Horford needs to suck it up and play, what? The man had a torn pectoral and any doctor will tell you that is a 3-6 month injury to heal up from. does it make any sense to risk him in the playoffs and then he reinjures himself and might actually be out 6 onths longer. No it does not. Give Horford a break and allow to heal and get well. The Celtics are a very good defensive team and the Hawks have to actually show up against them. Al would help against them but not at the risk of further injury.

O'brien

April 23rd, 2012
2:44 pm

Even with a 80% healthy Horford, there is no guarantee that we beat the Celtics. I think he should take the time off, and heal up properly.

Dawg

April 23rd, 2012
2:45 pm

We need ZaZa more right now. Hortford would potentially hurt himself longterm and his effectiveness would not be much considering he has not played in months.

O'brien

April 23rd, 2012
2:45 pm

Doc,

Culture is a huge problem (I remember when Bibby would shrug off losses nonchalantly). And it starts once again, with ownership.

3 captains later, Hawks still have an issue with leadership.

CHUCK NORRIS

April 23rd, 2012
2:46 pm

Im just ready for them to get knocked out and lets see what they come up with for next season!

TMACfan

April 23rd, 2012
2:48 pm

Let Boston focus on Al Horford and let Zaza fly under the radar. I like it.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 23rd, 2012
2:50 pm

FTPB

“Trading JJ is the same as trading Smith or Horford. If you’re not getting close to their talent level back in return, you’re basically going into give up mode.”

From a cap perspective, no it is not. Horford has a manageable contract. Josh, even when he gets re-signed, will have a much more manageable contract than Joe and likely will not decline over the course of the contract. Joe’s contract is going to get worse year by year because he will decline while his salary rises.

Unless some team does a Pau Gasol trade with the Hawks, giving the Hawks an All Star in exchange for crap, there is no way to improve the core without trading one of the medium-sized three. Better to trade the player who is going to give the least bang for the buck over the course of his contract, which is easily Joe.

atlthrasha404

April 23rd, 2012
2:51 pm

We would kill the Celtics and the Bulls with our full lineup healthy. Right now though its looking like a second round exit yet again. Get the hell gone Rick Sund you suck.

drmaryb.(*_*).

April 23rd, 2012
2:53 pm

Again, Horford is gone for the E N T I R E post season.

H e L L O?

Najeh Davenpoop

April 23rd, 2012
2:53 pm

“Horford shot around 54% last season and somehow, he has become among the most dispised player on the squad.”

Huh? Despised by who, other than T-S?

Nobody despises Horford. He is the difference between the Hawks being favored against the Celtics vs. being an underdog against them. The perception of him is just coming back to where it needs to be. A year ago, he was perceived as the MVP of this team, the one untradeable and indispensable player this team has, a guy who (according to Bret LaGree at Hoopinion) should have the offense run through him. This year is conclusive proof that this is not the case, so perceptions of him have come closer to reality than they were last year. Doesn’t mean he’s not a very good player, but people are now realizing that he is the 3rd best player on this team.

TMACfan

April 23rd, 2012
2:54 pm

For the game against the Clippers, Josh is going to have to man up and show ESPN why he is better than Blake Griffin and shut him down.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 23rd, 2012
2:57 pm

““We are keeping our fingers crossed but we are not totally counting on him,” Drew said yesterday. ”

They shouldn’t be counting on him at all. Go into battle with what you have. If Al returns, it is a Willis Reed moment and probably will pick up the entire team psychologically, but nobody on the team should have the mindset that Al is going to return.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 23rd, 2012
2:59 pm

I have a feeling that Griffin is going to put up some big numbers, not so much because Josh will do a bad job on him, but more because the Hawks don’t defend the pick and roll well and Collins will be playing center. Josh is going to be overextended on D again and Griffin is going to have open lanes to roll to the basket.

I am also pretty confident that there will be three times as many Clippers fans in the building this year as there were last year. There were a few last year but not that many.

Section 303

April 23rd, 2012
3:03 pm

I think we will know his playoff status on Thursday. If he shows up for the Mavs game in uniform and logs a few minutes, he will probably contribute some in the playoffs. If not, then he probably would not be ready for the postseason.

Of course, that is just my hunch. I have zero inside info on his status at all. It just seems to me that Thursday’s game has been a target date. If he can’t play in that one, I would not hold my breath for any Al sightings against the Celtics.

I hope Al can play, at least a small amount of time. I think it would be a great boost to the team and crowd. But, Zaza’s ability to play is probably of larger concern. He will be playing more minutes and have a larger role.

Rod from College Park

April 23rd, 2012
3:16 pm

At the beginning of the year, we read an article that stated that LD hung up a sign in the locker room that said, “NO EXCUSES”. This was supposed to be the Hawks Mantra for the year. All we see on the blog is people making excuses. Horford is not playing. Get over it. His 10 points and 10 rebounds would not change the outcome of the series against Boston. Zaza brings that and more physicality than Horford does. Zaza is not a better basketball player than Horford, but his physical style fits better with what we need from that position. The last thing we need in this starting lineup is another jump shooter.

prison mike

April 23rd, 2012
3:18 pm

The timing is odd with all these “updates” on his health. Hopefully it is a ploy against the Celtics otherwise it is something that could mess up the team’s chemistry.

tmc

April 23rd, 2012
3:32 pm

this SCREAMS like a move the ASG want to make to win over fans and maybe win a game or two in the playoffs.

When in reality, this Hawks team isn’t going anywhere. And to risk one of your better players and play him to early coming back from injury. May stunt him for the rest of his career.

NOTE TO AL: Do what’s best for you. Listen to your doctors. The idiots running the team will screw you up if you listen to them.

THAT, i am sure of.

TMACfan

April 23rd, 2012
3:33 pm

HAWKS FANS! THIS MIGHT BE THE MOMENT!

Blake Griffin will dunk on Twin and force him to finally retire!!

Robbie

April 23rd, 2012
3:36 pm

“Doesn’t mean he’s not a very good player, but people are now realizing that he is the 3rd best player on this team.”

If I were building a champioship club, and I had to pick one of Josh, Joe and Al to start on my team, I’d take Al no question. High bball IQ, no off court issues, managable contract, doesn’t piss off fans, doesn’t complain about All Star snubs, great shooting big, rebounds, and defends.

Hawks will regret it if they choose to stick with eniogmatic, turnover prone Smith over him longer term.

Rod from College Park

April 23rd, 2012
3:52 pm

“If I were building a champioship club, and I had to pick one of Josh, Joe and Al to start on my team, I’d take Al no question. High bball IQ, no off court issues, managable contract, doesn’t piss off fans, doesn’t complain about All Star snubs, great shooting big, rebounds, and defends.”

Al is not even on the same level as Joe, and is not better than Josh. Kirk Hinrich supposedly has a high bball IQ, what does that mean. Most of the great players in the league have off the court issues, means nothing in respect to them performing on the court, unless what they are doing could possibly land them in jail. Al (9rpg) does not rebound much better than Josh this year (9rpg), and is not even on the same defensive plane. Al poses no threat defensively, and has no defensive versatility and Josh does. Al shoots mid range jumpers better than Josh, and thats about it offensively. Your selection of Al is based on your dislike of Josh’s game, or his personality, not basketball ability.

atlthrasha404

April 23rd, 2012
3:57 pm

I just believe that when the celtics and the hawks get together. It doesnt matter who is on the floor. This is a intense rivalry. They hate each other. Whoever is out there will give it their all. Al or not that series is a toss up.

Just Joe

April 23rd, 2012
4:13 pm

Josh, ZaZa & Ivan will have to battle with Bass, KG & Steisma. Sounds even to me, if everyone’s healthy.

Shouldn’t need Horford unless we draw the Bulls in round 2. We know all too well how deep that team is: Boozer, Noah, Gibson & Asik.

Dr. Warren

April 23rd, 2012
4:34 pm

Let’s keep Horford safe and rested through this year’s playoffs so he can be at full speed next year and ensure we make it to the 2nd round in 2013. Ah, the suspense.

Melvin

April 23rd, 2012
5:07 pm

Najeh,

My AL for Tyreke trade on the last blog was under the impression that Joe would play SF and Tyreke SG. Tyreke would fit in well b/c he’s a guy that like to take people off the dribble and the Hawks have too many jumpshooters and he like to handle the ball and that will give the Hawks a 3rd ballhandler and a guy who can create his own shot.

Melvin

April 23rd, 2012
5:09 pm

Horford needs to shut it down and allow his injury to heal correctly. No need to rush back and risk re-injurying himself.

TMACfan

April 23rd, 2012
5:10 pm

There are many things wrong with this picture. The biggest being the dude with the basketball.

http://yfrog.com/z/nxn17kwj

doc

April 23rd, 2012
5:17 pm

O’b we see eye to eye on so many things, so you know I don’t have to salute your comments above. Many here are frustrated so little was done to cover, what to even the man on the street that did the faintest of research, what was a season ending injury. With that, the emphasis should have shifted to what was needed to be done to correct the now more deeply flawed roster, without a true first line big. Then is when you get what might be at worst as true back up or the best you can do. It wasn’t to stick Zaza in there and hope with your fingers crossed that twin can fill the bill, only then to have your hand forced a bit to get Dampier, when twin went down. They lucked out and into Ivan and they still don’t know, for sure, what he can do. They refuse to let him sink or swim in certain situations against the big boys, like yesterday with Zaza now out indefinitely if Ivan is their true back up to now fill the void.

Sorry, stupid BASG, your logic fails even the best of your supporters is my guess now. The rest of us sit bewildered by move after move you make.

No, from the get go, when surgery was necessary, only the remotest of chances were he would be more than a walking wounded at this juncture of the season. Action should have been taken then and there. As a doc, I cringed when I heard the report of his injury not even seeing it and knew the recovery would most likely be as long as an acl or an elbow for Tommy John surgery. Anyone who Googled it found similar information that I found and posted folks to review, if so inclined, to understand the injury and then blame the stupid basg and not Horford as they are want to do now.

Of course, the BASG can dodge the criticism by saying it is up to Horford as they are doing now. Yes, that is chicken azz owner speak for, we let you down and we are playing dodge ball for you stupid enough to not think we are culpable and should have been more proactive. It is Horford’s fault then for not healing quicker and bad luck for us. Of course back then, when it happened there were a lot of fans throwing up the smoke screen of how al was a wimp, to serve their own agenda, which was just as stupid sounding as the BASG for no action since they were fully informed.

That even continues now. It isn’t an act on Horford’s part. He and his is physical therapist know exactly the limitations of his range of motion and the overall lack of strength in the repaired side, to his normal, which by now is much weaker. Remember, he hasn’t been even able to work that side out. He knows how limited he is as he sees the tests done, if they are caring for him properly. It is even more stupid of the BASG to probably allow it since he has a long term contract but after all, it is the stupid BASG we are talking about . I cant expect any more out of them than to play to the lowest common denominator if they are truly asking Al to come back.

O’b, wasn’t it just last week Ricky oy Sund was sayng that there was little chance of a Willis Reid moment where Al walks on the court? Some of you young guys might have to Google that one. heh heh

And yes, I have little respect for the organization formerly known as the asg now known in my eyes and to all as the broken atlanta spirit group… BASG.

SteveW

April 23rd, 2012
5:35 pm

Steve is not SteveW BTW

Any trades I propose are based on cap, and not on improving the team. It is based on re-signing:

Ivan
ZaZa
Josh
Teague

And knowing ASG is not going way over the cap, which keeping JJ and Al, and re-signing Josh and the others will require. For Example:

JJ 22mill (average)
Al 12 m
Josh 16 m (maybe more)
ZaZa 8 m per (Kwame got 7 mill. ZaZa is better than Kwame. And teams need C’s. And ZaZa is still pretty young).
Teague 6 m
Ivan 3 m (But we really don’t know)
Marvin 7.5 m

That’s 74.5 mill with those 7 players. Gotta fill 13 roster spots. 1st picks in our range will be getting 1.2 mill to start then go up.

Even if you ditch Marvin somehow, and say ZaZa gets 6 mill per, Teague 5 m, and Josh 14 m, That’s
still 62 mill for 6 players, and it’s unrealistic in it’s re-signing numbers, so in other words, it ain’t happening.

Somebody’s got to go it appears to me cap wise. JJ, Al, Josh. And Josh has asked to be traded. I think unless he agrees to a new deal, he’s gone for a draft pick, or another cheaper piece.

And as long as Josh plays in the post, he’s as effective as all but the elite players in the game. He is a delight to watch down low.

And those back to back blocks in the 3rd yesterday were just sick, as was his low post jam – made some other plays in the sequence also.

SteveW

April 23rd, 2012
5:39 pm

Now of course if we can make a trade, improve the team, and get cheaper – obviously I’m all for that. Just trying to be realistic.

SteveW

April 23rd, 2012
5:47 pm

If we ditch Marvin, Teague, and ZaZa, and keep JJ, Al, Josh, and Ivan I just don’t think the surrounding players with journeymen, DLeaguers, castoffs, and 1st picks in the low 20’s are good enough for a Championship. We could try it I guess and see.

JJ 22.5 mill (average)
Al 12 m
Josh 16 m
Ivan 3 m

That’s 53.5 m on 4 players. You’d need a couple of Pg’s, a couple of Bigs, 3 Wings, and a couple of others to fill out the roster. Hmmm, not totally impossible.

Still gotta ditch Marvin’s contract to make that work. 7.5 m player option in 2013/14.

I guess we could try JJ at PG again and see what happens in that scenario. I’m not against the JJ at PG try – maybe not fulltime, but he’s got the tools to be good at it.

Jody

April 23rd, 2012
6:09 pm

With Horford’s contract and injury recovery, I highly doubt he gets traded. If anyone gets dealt, I think it is more likely to Joe or Josh.

DawgNole

April 23rd, 2012
6:09 pm

O’brien
April 23rd, 2012
2:45 pm

Doc,

Culture is a huge problem (I remember when Bibby would shrug off losses nonchalantly). And it starts once again, with ownership.

3 captains later, Hawks still have an issue with leadership.
_______________________

“. . . shrug off losses nonchalantly.” That’s what losers do.