Why the Atlanta Hawks Are Screwed After Al Horford Injury

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 06:  Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sure the Atlanta Hawks were impressive last night without Al Horford in a 30-point win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Despite the win, this team is screwed for the season.

This was set to be a year where the Hawks could at least try and get past the second round of the playoffs, but they have zero chance of doing that now. Not without Horford.

The Hawks will be without their All-Star center for a minimum of three months with a shoulder injury. Now they have to worry about hanging on for the rest of the season and even making the playoffs.

If there was one guy the Atlanta Hawks couldn't afford to lose, they just lost him.

Horford's averaged nearly a double-double throughout his five-year career. But what he brings to the Hawks at the defensive and of the floor and in the form of toughness can't be replaced.

He's one of the few elite big men in the game that can run floor, handle the ball, pass and finish. Defensively he can guard the 4 or the 5. Guys like that are next to impossible to replace.

It definitely means Atlanta won't be making any type of playoff run.

So what do they do in the meantime?

Zaza Pachulia got the start against Charlotte and had a 10 point and 10 rebound performance. But can he be counted on for a double-double performance on a nightly basis?

Very doubtful.

The Hawks frontcourt is now very thin on talent. They need to make a move, but quality big men really aren't out there to be had.

The injury to Horford screws the Hawks for now, but we'll see if they can keep things together until he returns.