A lot of Hawks’ fans have been wondering, and I can’t blame them one bit — when is Clint Capela going to be in the lineup? Will he be with the team on Friday when Atlanta heads to Boston to take on the Celtics?
I’ll answer the second question first — no. Coach Lloyd Pierce told the media after last night’s Hawks win that he doesn’t expect his new toy to join the team in Boston. Capela injured his heel in late January against the Portland Trail Blazers, causing him to miss the Rockets’ last three games before being traded. And while the injury doesn’t seem too severe, it may be a while before we see him on the court.
The Hawks have been cautious with all of their injured players throughout this rebuild, understanding there is no need to rush guys back in order to win games now. But Capela’s situation is a little different than most, as his absence has been mostly due to pain. According to SB Nation’s The Dream Shake, they believed he was on track to miss some significant time before being dealt to Atlanta.
“From the looks of it, it doesn’t sound like this is a day-to-day situation for Capela, either. There’s a growing sense internally he could be out for a while, at least until after the All-Star break. Capela is said to be in pain daily, struggling to run early Friday morning before the Mavericks’ game. A collective coaching decision was made that day to rest him until he fully recovers.”
However, there is another aspect worth considering. The Rockets could have already made up their minds that they were moving on from Capela before the trade deadline and have been keeping him out as a precaution. Because from the way Lloyd Pierce and the rest of the Hawks organization has talked about him, it doesn’t seem like he is going to be out for an extended period.
Atlanta returns home to play the Knicks this Sunday. If the injury never were significant, I’d expect him to be suited up. But if this is indeed a case where he’s feeling pain on a daily basis, I wouldn’t expect him on the floor until after the All-Star break, which begins on February 13th. The Hawks open up the second half of the season against the Heat on February 20th.