The Hawks have been hot for nearly two months now, jolting all the way up to the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. Nobody saw that coming after such a sluggish start, especially considering all the injuries they have had to overcome in the process.
Pretty much every significant player on the team has missed some time over this winning stretch, with some guys missing all of it. However, the Hawks got John Collins back on Sunday, and Travis Schlenk told 92.9 The Game this morning that he expects more pieces to return as early as next week, including starting small forward De’Andre Hunter.
Hunter established himself as one of the best players on the team early in the season, but the Hawks need to get him back sooner rather than later if they imagine him having the same kind of impact in the playoffs. It will likely take Hunter a couple of weeks to get back into the groove, especially considering this team has yet to play at full strength this season.
Hunter won’t be the only player returning, though. I imagine Danilo Gallinari and Tony Snell should be just as close to coming back, and Kris Dunn is another one to keep an eye on. He’s been out the entire season with a knee injury but would be a critical addition to Atlanta’s bench, particularly defensively. Schlenk also didn’t rule out a potential Cam Reddish return, although he is probably the furthest away.
Hopefully, the Hawks can get all of these guys back for the final stretch and into the playoffs. The depth on this team has allowed them to right the ship, but if they really want to make some noise in the postseason, they need all hands on deck.