For the first time in nearly two weeks, Atlanta Hawks big man Tiago Splitter was listed as something other than "out" in advance of the team's game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Prior to the game, Mike Budenholzer declined to indicate that Splitter would definitely return to the floor, but he did disclose that the veteran center would dress and be available after a six-game absence.
The Hawks are 3-3 in Splitter's absence as he rehabilitates a hip injury suffered against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 21, and Atlanta has justifiably taken a long-term approach with the now 30-year-old. Splitter is posting the lowest PER (11.6) of his career to this point, and while it is in a (very) small sample, the Hawks undoubtedly understand that he must peak in the second half of the season for this team to reach its ceiling.
With a lengthy bit of rest after this game, it would not be a shock to see Budenholzer leave Splitter on the bench if he is not 100 percent healthy, but the sheer fact that he is available is quite encouraging.