Atlanta, GA - According to NBA.com, Atlanta Hawks star center Al Horford has decided to undergo season-ending surgery on his torn pectoral muscle that he suffered just about a week ago. There was quite a bit of doubt about Horford’s ability to come back this season even without the surgery, so this does appear to be the smart move. Horford’s loss will greatly effect the rest of Atlanta’s season, as he was their leading scorer and rebounder.
Through 29 games this season with the Hawks, Horford had averaged 18.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. This loss will leave the Hawks looking for scoring help and their rebounding and defense will take a major hit as well. The Hawks are currently the third best team in the Eastern Conference, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them begin to falter following this injury.
The Hawks have split their first two games since Horford went down, beating the Charlotte Bobcats before losing to the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Atlanta will ask a lot more of Paul Millsap, and the rest of the team will need to step up their offensive game as well. It will be interesting to see which players step up, or if the Hawks end up falling down in the Eastern Conference and perhaps even missing the postseason.
Elton Brand will likely receive a healthy boost in minutes, and has started the last two games at center. He has played fewer than 20 minutes in each of those two games, so it will be interesting to see what happens with his minute situation. Pero Antic is a 6’11” center who will likely be asked to step up as well. He is currently averaging 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds off the bench for the hawks.
There is no hope that Horford could return for the playoffs if Atlanta makes it in. The team announced that this is indeed a season-ending surgery no matter where the team ends up going. This is a very disappointing piece of news for Hawks fans following a nice start to the season.
Evan Massey is the Lead Editor for Pro Sports Extra. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.