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Pero Antic injury: Hawks center sidelined against Heat

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The Atlanta Hawks will be without center Pero Antic against the Miami Heat, as he will be sidelined with an ankle injury.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With much of the pre-game injury focus on Atlanta Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll, Mike Budenholzer pulled a bit of a surprise in declaring that center Pero Antic would be absent from Saturday night's game as a result of a lingering ankle injury. Budenholzer was quick to declare that it wasn't necessarily an aggravation after Antic played 18 minutes in Atlanta's win on Friday night, but with the ankle still bothering Pero, it looks to be a wise choice to keep him on the sideline.

In Antic's place, the Hawks will start Elton Brand at center for the third straight game, and it should be noted that Brand started on Friday night even with Antic available. Joining Elton in the starting lineup will be Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll (who appears to be fine despite reportedly undergoing an X-ray on Friday) and Paul Millsap.

Pero's absence does leave a considerable hole in the frontcourt rotation, and against a team like Miami who plays a small, quick lineup, he could have been effective in spacing the floor with perimeter shooting. Elton Brand will almost assuredly see big-time minutes in this one, but when he is off the floor, it will be interesting to monitor whether Budenholzer will go with a "small ball" lineup instead of utilizing Mike Muscala for extended minutes.

Stay tuned.