Al Horford Injury: Hawks Center Still Expected To Make Return In Playoffs

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 01: Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after their 88-83 win over the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena on April 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Injured Hawks center Al Horford told the AJC before Sunday's game with the Knicks that he was about 70 percent sure that he would be ready by the first round of the playoffs. As has been the case the entire season, Larry Drew and company are hopeful Horford returns but are approaching things from the stand point that he won't be back.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed but we are not totally counting on him. We don't want to have wishful thinking. When they told us about the surgery that the probability would be very slim so at that point made our mind up we would not get him back."

Horford would no doubt be worked in slowly if and when he finally makes his return. Zaza Pachulia's recent injury further complicates things and increases the need for Horford. Ivan Johnson has become the primary player at the center position in Pachulia's absence although Josh Smith did make the start there on Sunday.

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