It was pretty alarming when the Hawks announced that De’Andre Hunter would miss Game 1 with right knee soreness — the same knee injury that caused him to miss nearly the entire second half of the season. He was coming off arguably his best game since returning, scoring 15 points and logging 35 minutes against the Knicks. It looked like the injury was finally behind him, and the Hawks were as close to full strength as they were ever going to be.
But apparently, Hunter’s knee swelled up after Game 5 and just did not heal enough for the series opener against Philadelphia to play. Travis Schlenk talked to 92.9 The Game this morning about the injury and stated that the team is doing what is in Hunter’s best interest for the long term.
"We're being cautious with him. We don't want to do anything with him that would jeopardize long term effects with his knee. It's walking that fine line between living in the moment and projecting five or ten years down the line to do what's best for the franchise."
— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) June 8, 2021
It’s tough not having Hunter out there for one of the most pivotal moments in Hawks franchise history, but there should be no questioning the decision. This is a second-year player that looks like a cornerstone piece moving forward; there’s no reason to risk it if he’s not at least close to 100%
Nate McMillan said yesterday that Hunter would be a game-time decision tonight. Hopefully, he’ll be on the court, but Schlenk’s words this morning don’t exactly have me confident that he will play.