Pero Antic is out of his walking boot but he is still a week or two away from returning to action, according to head coach Mike Budenholzer.
"He is not available for Atlanta or the All-Star Game for another week or two. There is going to be a progression of rehab and getting him back until he is fully healthy. That is the doctor's advice and everybody is following the protocol."
Antic was selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at the NBA's All-Star Weekend but the injury forced him to be replaced by Phoenix center Miles Plumlee. He will still travel to New Orleans to be part of the festivities.
Antic has missed the last eight games due to the ankle injury that occurred in London during Atlanta's matchup with the Nets. Antic played in the next two games before the pain persisted and tests revealed a stress fracture. He has appeared in 29 games while averaging 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Once Al Horford was lost for the season, Antic eventually found his way into the starting lineup and performed well. His long range shooting put pressure on opposing centers to step out onto the perimeter and opened up driving lanes for his teammates. Antic finished with 16 points in a win over the Pacers and had 17 in a Hawks victory over the Miami Heat.
Without Antic, Budenholzer has turned to Gustavo Ayon and Elton Brand but has gone with a small lineup featuring Paul Millsap and Mike Scott primarily down the stretch in an effort to space the floor more effectively.
"When we put Paul and Mike as a combination it can really spread the defense out. Offensively, one of their bigs, if not both of them, will have to get out to the 3-point line. We don't want to become a jump shooting team just because Mike and Paul are in but hopefully, Jeff (Teague) and other guys are attacking and even Paul and Mike are driving closeouts and still getting to the rim, hopefully you get the defense a little more spread out."
At times that strategy has put Atlanta at a disadvantage on the boards and with the matchups inside. Getting Pero back healthy will give Budenholzer more options particularly late in games.