The Atlanta Hawks have been unable to catch a break recently. The bad news continues to pile up, as Josh Smith will now have to miss time after spraining his knee.
UPDATE: Saturday, April 6 at 7:17 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to the Hawks' Twitter, Josh Smith will not play in Saturday night's game:
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UPDATE: Friday, Mar. 15 at 6:10 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
Josh Smith's injury has only caused him to miss one game, and he is now ready to get back on the court. After sitting out during the Hawks' victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the forward will play on Friday against the Phoenix Suns:
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Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell notes that the injury occurred during Atlanta’s loss to the Miami Heat on March 12.
The versatile forward’s absence will leave the Hawks looking for a way to replace his 17.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per night. Anthony Tolliver will likely see increased minutes against the Lakers, as the Atlanta frontcourt will be worryingly thin during the game.
In addition to Smith’s injury, the Hawks will also be missing center Zaza Pachulia, who will sit out the game with an Achilles injury, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore.
These injuries are coming at an extremely poor time, as Atlanta has won just one game in March. After finishing February on a four-game winning streak, the Hawks have now dropped six of their last seven contests.
Heading into the showdown with Los Angeles, the Hawks had the same record as the Boston Celtics and sat in the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. The Milwaukee Bucks were 1.5 games behind Atlanta and Boston.
Fortunately for these teams, there is a large drop-off between the eighth-place and ninth-place teams in the East, and all three are likely to make the playoffs. However, all will be trying to avoid a first-round playoff series with the Miami Heat.
The Hawks’ goals for the rest of the season will be to improve their seed and gain momentum heading into the postseason. The team will need Smith healthy to make this happen.