Thabo Sefolosha was forced to exit Friday night's game with the Portland Trail Blazers after less than three minutes of action. Now, it appears that the Atlanta Hawks swingman will be missing six to eight weeks as a result of a right calf strain.
The 30-year-old swingman has appeared in 45 games for the Hawks this season since arriving from Oklahoma City via free agency, and Sefolosha's play has steadily improved. For the season, Sefolosha is shooting just 42% from the floor and 29% from three-point distance, but those numbers bump to 49% from the field and 40% from three in January, and there are real signs of a shift in confidence.
More importantly, the 6-foot-7 wing has been crucial on the defensive end, providing Atlanta with the bench option they desperately needed when DeMarre Carroll heads to the bench. The Hawks have been able to post a top-five defensive rating on the strength of a deep roster of quality players on that end, and Sefolosha has been one of the best in that regard.
With the proposed timeline of six to eight weeks, Thabo Sefolosha would not return until mid-March at the earliest. On one hand, this isn't a bad time to suffer an injury of this magnitude, given a nearly 10-day break on the horizon for the All-Star Game, but in the same breath, the Atlanta Hawks are playing fantastic basketball and going without one of their better wings certainly isn't helpful.
Many have overlooked the impact of Thabo Sefolosha on the success of the Atlanta Hawks, but the team and its depth will be put to the test over the next stretch of games in his absence.