Updated: Horford out for first round of playoffs

Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena. Here is my updated story on Al Horford after my conversation with him following this morning’s practice.

Reality hit Al Horford – and it hit hard.

The Hawks center said Wednesday he will not be available for the team’s first-round playoff series against the Celtics. He has not progressed enough following surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle.

“I realized that I’m not nearly where I need to be or want to be – not even to give the team anything,” Horford said. “That’s when we kind of decided that it was best for me to take some time off, keep working, see how I progress. But we are just not where we need to be yet.”

The Hawks could also be without center Zaza Pachulia when the playoffs begin. Pachulia will not play in Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Mavericks, the seventh straight game he will have missed with a sprained left foot. Coach Larry Drew said Paculia is scheduled to be re-examined this weekend – when the NBA playoffs are scheduled to begin.

“Don’t know,” Drew said when asked whether Pachulia would be ready for the postseason.

Horford competed in 4-on-4 full-court drills Monday and following the workout was encouraged with how he felt. He said he even made a few baskets. The feeling changed the following morning when Horford said he “felt like I went backward.”

“I knew from the very beginning that I wasn’t going to be able to get my strength until later this summer but I have very, very little strength in the post where I can’t hold my own ground,” Horford said. “The playoffs are intense. The intensity goes up. You can go in and play in a practice. You can even play in a regular-season game. But the playoffs are different. The way that I play, and to be most effective to the team, I’m not at that point.”

Horford did not dismiss the idea that he could be ready for the second round of the playoffs should the Hawks advance.

Knowing that his return would provide a boost, Horford tried to convince himself it was possible. He even discussed with coaches a change in his playing style – using picks to get jump shots. That’s not Horford’s game – and he knew it.

“I have to be in the paint,” Horford said. “I want to be a presence inside being able to get tough rebounds, defend. I feel like I’m a good post defender. If I come out, I would be limited to doing stuff that I can do but it’s not what I’m all about.”

Horford had surgery Jan. 17 after suffering the injury six days earlier against the Pacers. The original diagnosis called for him to miss three to four months. He has missed 54 of the team’s 65 games going into Thursday’s finale.

During rehab, Horford has been limited to lifting a light amount of weight, designed only to maintain the range of motion in his shoulder.

“It’s tough because I’m trying to look at it different ways and tell myself that yes I can play,” Horford said. “It’s hard when you are hit with reality like this. This is the first time that I’ve actually had an injury of this type and any type of surgery. I’m learning from this and hopefully this will make me a better player. I know I’m going to be much more motivated when I come back, I tell you that, whenever it is. I have to keep working and see what happens.”

50 comments Add your comment


April 25th, 2012
12:39 pm

Not shocking or surprising at all.

Luke Cage

April 25th, 2012
12:43 pm

Darn It To Heck!!

Luke Cage

April 25th, 2012
12:45 pm

Collins will offer nothing vs boston other than 6 fouls.


April 25th, 2012
12:47 pm

Ok we know he’s out so lets get ready with what we have…Big Ivan get ready,Josh get ready,Marvin…anyway lets get the homecourt and Beat Beantown down!!


April 25th, 2012
12:51 pm

Like Charles Barkley Said, “The Hawks Are Soft”

Section 303

April 25th, 2012
12:52 pm

That is not surprising news, but still is a let down. I was thinking Al could give a couple minutes a game and be a boost to everyone (players, coaches, and fans). Oh, well….

Zaza has to get better. I think he is a must to have, if we’re going to beat Boston.

Horford = Soft

April 25th, 2012
12:52 pm

Anyone else here picking up on the fact Horford seems scared or afraid to come back? Why so wishy washy on this for past 2 weeks? I BET a fat nickle homeboy doesn’t play squat the rest of this year even if we roll to the finals. What’s wrong with you Horford, your healed, but “not ready?” are you ready to keep cashing your checks to sit on the pine, MAN UP you stay puff.

Rev in Tampa

April 25th, 2012
12:53 pm

Reminds me of one of MC’s tweets several days ago. “Check back in 5 minutes for a change in Horford’s status”

Big Crimson 75

April 25th, 2012
12:55 pm

Breaking News to whom exactly??
I don’t think anyone with a brain expected Horford to do something like Play for his Teammates in the Playoffs after snoozing all Season long.
Say what you will —- Smooth would Play!!

Team Full of Mr Softees

April 25th, 2012
1:00 pm

Ice Cream Team. I would not want one player off this roster, for a game of a street fight except Zaza, Stack and Ivan. But the rest of em? LOL


April 25th, 2012
1:01 pm

H E L L O?

What idiot comments. SMH, half of you couldn’t fall off the couch to go get a drink and popcorn. “This is the NBA man.” -Joe Johnson-

Rev in Tampa

April 25th, 2012
1:02 pm

There is NO proof from the fact that that Horford is not playing that he is soft. Rather, I think it indicates the opposite. I think Horford is over-eager to get back on the court.

Rev in Tampa

April 25th, 2012
1:04 pm

If Zaza is able to play against Boston, then I think the Hawks win the series – homecourt advantage or not.

[...] today — center Al Horford, still recovering from surgery to repair his left pectoral muscle, will not suit up in the first round of the Playoffs. Per the AJC: “I just spoke with Hawks center Al Horford, who confirmed that [...]


April 25th, 2012
1:08 pm

Brutal – I was hoping we could get him back, even for limited minutes. It’s even more vital at this point that we have a health ZaZa. It’ll be a short series without him.

Big Lou

April 25th, 2012
1:10 pm

I saw an Ivan Johnson block on the espn highlights. Loved it!

Horford story is nothing new.

Can somebody(Vivlamore, MC) inform LD of this possible lineup against the Celtics:

Teague, Joe, Marvin, Ivan, Josh

Bench rotation: Pargo, Kirk, Green, Tmac, Collins

With No Zaza in the lineup of course…


April 25th, 2012
1:11 pm

Al . . just stop talking to the media about your injury status. Most of us know that there’s no way you could’ve been ready right now, so just stop worrying about it. Continue your rehab and don’t rush anything.

I personally don’t want to see you on the court, until a possible elimination game in the 2nd round at the earliest . . and only if that’s been a deep series. There is no sense of you doing possibly more damage to your injury by playing in a non-elimination playoff game.

If we can’t beat Boston in the first round without you, then so be it.

Rest up and get well.

Rev in Tampa

April 25th, 2012
1:25 pm

New video blog up from MC. He and Vivlamore are competing for attention.

[...] Wednesday comes this from Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I just spoke with Hawks center Al Horford, who confirmed that he will miss at least the first [...]

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 25th, 2012
1:55 pm

Marvin had 11 & 4 last night after dropping 29 on a NYK defense that didn’t even guard him at all and people act like he is having a breakthrough.
F That. I said for 3 years he would have a breakout year but he underachieved his whole career. 11 & 4 last night and people are raving about him. LOL. If he actually had body strength, he would be converting plays at the rim REGULARLY. If you saw CP3 last night, he was absorbing contact at the rim and was unfazed – he was still in great position to score. He wasn’t falling down after being hit by a guy’s pinky.

I also feel Jeff Teague is more important to this team’s success than is anybody else. Joe was right – this team will succeed or fail through Jeff (even though it’s lame Joe didn’t seem to hold himself accountable).

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 25th, 2012
1:56 pm

Forget Al. He said he’d only contribute offensively – not defensively. Yeah like that helps in the PLAYOFFS where DEFENSE is ESSENTIAL. How can he say he cannot be held responsible for defense but not offense, since he was injured?

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

April 25th, 2012
2:01 pm

Why are there 2 open blogs up?


City Of Atlanta Still Recovering From William Tecumseh Sherman

April 25th, 2012
3:38 pm

better play ivan on kg man


April 25th, 2012
4:00 pm

“Forget Al. He said he’d only contribute offensively – not defensively. Yeah like that helps in the PLAYOFFS where DEFENSE is ESSENTIAL. How can he say he cannot be held responsible for defense but not offense, since he was injured?”

Jeje, did you fail to read this?:

“I knew from the very beginning that I wasn’t going to be able to get my strength until later this summer but I have very, very little strength in the post where I can’t hold my own ground,” Horford said. “The playoffs are intense. The intensity goes up. You can go in and play in a practice. You can even play in a regular-season game. But the playoffs are different. The way that I play, and to be most effective to the team, I’m not at that point.”

Sounds to me like Al has realized that he is needed defensively, and doesn’t yet have the strength to defend in the paint. Wouldn’t you rather that he ADMIT that????? I’m happy to see him showing some sense AND seeing where the team needs him. IN THE PAINT.

But somehow to you, he’s still wanting to just shoot jumpers, lol.

[...] who’s been out since January 11 (recovering from surgery to repair his left pectoral muscle), told the AJC today: “Yesterday, I realized that I’m not nearly where I need to be or want to be – not even to [...]

[...] Breaking news: Horford out for first round of playoffsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)I just spoke with Hawks center Al Horford, who confirmed that he will miss at least the first round of the playoffs. Horford has been rehabbing from left pectoral muscle surgery and said he is just not where he needs to be physically.and more » [...]


April 25th, 2012
4:59 pm

Why we didn’t go after JJ Hickson when he was waived earlier this year?!?!?!?


April 25th, 2012
5:12 pm

Not surprised, the playoffs are when you put it all on the table and man up.I don’t see him back unless we go to the ECF or championship series


April 25th, 2012
5:19 pm

The man had a torn pectoral muscle surgically repaired, get a grip people. It’s not about being soft it’s about being injured.


April 25th, 2012
5:19 pm

Let’s face it bloggers, exactly which Hawk player has been the most reliable, indispensible contributor on this team? Who stepped up and played big minutes all season long when the injury bug was hitting the team left and right? Who spent his summer determined to shake the bad label of “selfish, low IQ bball player” by improving his shot selection and shedding 15lbs?

You guessed it… J. Smoove.

Smoove has proven himself to be THE best player on this team, hands down. He plays defense, leads the break, passes, scores in the post, rebonds, and most importantly… He plays with heart.

Which leads me to my point. The Hawks can give Boston all it can handle in the playoffs (and in my humble opinion, win the friggin series) just as long as Smoove shows up healthy and ready to ball out.

Losing Horford is huge, but the good thing is we lost him early in the season. Hawks have learned to play well without, mainly by getting Smoove more touches and letting him play his game. Did you guys see how competitive he was at going after Blake Griffin (might I add Blake won the matchup, but still Smoove had heart)? Also, Marv is stepping up in a bigger way (maybe he’ll avg 12 ppg, 7 reb in playoffs, fingers crossed)

This is not breaking news. Hawks can win w/o Horf. GM will have many many problems to solve with this roster in offseason. Extend Smoove Tarde Horford for value? Re sign some of our motley crew bench? Draft?

We’ll see how it goes. BUT as for right now…



April 25th, 2012
5:26 pm

Drewcat I feel you about Josh, but he does need to stop leading the break and be more on the finishing end of the break. He should allow Teague to push the break 99.9% of the time.


April 25th, 2012
5:35 pm

tidog I agree that Smoove should be more concerned with finishing than leading while on the break… But half the time Teague acts like he doesn’t want the ball in transition. Teague plays with that “dog” only on certain nights. He doesn’t demand the ball and play with the type of leadership you’d expect from a PG on a veteran team.

Sky’s the limit for Teague though. If he can ever keep that switched carnked “ON”… we’re dangerous for any team.


April 25th, 2012
5:43 pm

Tidog exactly he could average 6to 10 more points if he give the rock up


April 25th, 2012
5:48 pm

Its not 2008…unfortunately I think its worse- Rondo is a beast now and Avery Bradley has developed into a legitimate threat. Remember that was Boston’s first playoff series with the Big 3.

KG, Pierce and Rondo have been resting since middle of last week- their age/fatigue will be amended by that.

If ATL is swept is it time to break up the team


April 25th, 2012
6:05 pm

Ryan… who saidanything about the Hawks being swept??

Are these the words of a frequent Hawks blogger? If so,, maaaan your team spirit sucks.

Hawks overcome a lot this season and the only point you can bring to the discussion is contigent upon them getting swept? Where’s the faith??

Why so bleak? We shouldn’t fear the Celtics, just as we didn’t in ‘08. I must admit Boston came on strong late in season; that team has veteran eperience and championship pedigree. BUT this is a Hawks blog, so quit hating!

Geesh, hope you aint one of the fair weathered fans at the game this weekend


April 25th, 2012
6:34 pm

Better get your running shoes on Hawks…………run and gun will be the only possible way to beat the Celtics in the playoffs!


April 25th, 2012
7:38 pm

Zaza’s the key…..I think they’re holding him out on purpose but who knows.

Al Staypuff Hurtford

April 25th, 2012
7:46 pm


Now yo azz know

April 25th, 2012
7:59 pm

This stupid love affair Michael Cunningham has with Al ” I dont wanna play defense ” Horford is disgusting .

Even when Al was healthy he was a Houdini in the play offs with 10 pts ans 7 rbs while averaging just 1 blk. What the hell do we care if he comes back or not. WTF kind of story is that ? Id rather hear about the guys who dont argue about what position they are told to play. Guys who dont fight in the locker room.

Trade All Scrubb injury prone 12pts 8rb Al Houdini. He means very, little to this team and has no impact.

Find something better to blog about Michael Cunningham.


April 25th, 2012
8:02 pm

In case you are wondering I am a troll you idiots.


April 25th, 2012
8:02 pm

This Is Why Atlanta Is Named The Most “Miserable” Sports City In The Country…..Its Always A Excuse To Why They Can’t Get It Done In The Playoffs…….They Win All These Regular Season Games Thinking Thats A Achievement……..Well My Friends You Are Wrong………..Its No Hope For This City Winning A Championship……And We Knew Al Was Soft When He Had A Blog About Crying Because He Has To Play Center……..Um Um Um Your 6-10 Dude Man TF Up…..Ivan Johnson Been Undersized At The 5 All Season But Has Been Effective And Never Complained About It….When You Make All Those Millions You Start Not To Get Hungry Anymore……9 To 5 Is Hungry…………Maybe Some Of These Other Players Jobs Need To Be In Jepordy If There Going To Play Like Ivan……..


April 25th, 2012
8:11 pm

could have went after boris diaw also


April 25th, 2012
8:32 pm

Horford is still young with not much experience with injuries. He just really wants to play. That’s his emotions and is natural. And this injury is one not many people seem to get. He needs to sit out and come to terms with it, obviously. Come back next year. Give him a break. Geez.


April 25th, 2012
10:09 pm

Fire Sund—they should have been looking for big help before Horford got hurt. He is a joke as a GM—do nothing.

J. Edgar

April 25th, 2012
10:42 pm

Al Horford isn’t just 10pts and 7rbs, Al plays some of the best defense in the NBA. Also i agree we should fire the GM. HE SUCKS, of all the great young big men out there they sign Erick Dampier to play 5 minutes a game?

Also the playoff lineup might look like this: Jeff Teague Kurt Heinrich Joe Johnson Ivan Johnson Josh Smith. Smoove would have the best success over KG than any other guy on the team.

[...] The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Al Horford is out for the series, and his absence will be the nail in the coffin for the [...]

Mee 2 Li Na

April 26th, 2012
1:55 pm

Kwack, kwack !

The Hawk

April 26th, 2012
2:05 pm

Fire Woody! It’s all his fault!


April 26th, 2012
3:20 pm

There was a rumor awhile back…
Injury worse than reported…
even hinted of a second surgery…

no way to verify, but…sounds like…
there was some truth to it…
called “career-threatening” then…

The Monger

April 26th, 2012
10:55 pm

Al Horford is a BIG WUSSY… If I had a 3 to 4 month injury, I would be back in 2 months, going hard and eating right and exercising full force as soon as the sling came off. Today’s atheletes are seriously wusses….back in the day guys would play entire football games with broken arms and fractured ankles. Kirk Gibson hit a home run in the world series on ONE leg…Al Horford is pathetic, with his excuses after excuses. He was paid millions of dollars, with an expectation he fight through a little pain, and rehab himself to be ready for the playoffs accordingly. Yet day after day its a loser, wimpy mentality from this guy, instead of fighting through a very meager amount of soreness and pain, he succumbs like an infant to a glass of apple juice and a nap. He is WEAK, and it saddens me he wont even try in his comeback, instead opting for the excuse route…”im too weak, I cant do it in the post, its frustrating”….YOU ARE PAID MILLIONS….fight through it, it has been almost 4 months since you suffered a minor pectoral muscle tear, I would have been back from heart surgery sooner than you. Some guys have loser mentalities and will never be champions because of this…Al “Out 5-6 weeks with a Hangnail” Horford is one of these bums….