The Atlanta Hawks managed to escape with an ugly home win on Wednesday without both Dwight Howard and Thabo Sefolosha in the lineup. On Friday in Charlotte, the team won’t have its full complement of rotation players, but Atlanta’s starting center will reportedly return to action, according to Chris Vivlamore of the AJC.
Dwight Howard is IN and Thabo Sefolosha is OUT for Hawks vs. Hornets.— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) November 18, 2016
Howard was a game-time decision on Wednesday, making his swift return from a quad contusion unsurprising. Without him, the Hawks played a different style of basketball on Wednesday that was marginally successful, but Atlanta certainly needs his rim protection and, more importantly, defensive rebounding in order to knock off a very solid Hornets team on Friday.
In the case of Sefolosha, however, this is troubling news. The veteran swingman was a late addition to the injury report on Wednesday with a “mild left knee sprain”, and while his absence on the second of a back-to-back did not set off alarm bells, a two-game absence certainly does. In his absence, rookie Taurean Prince would be the logical recipient of additional minutes, with Mike Muscala and Kris Humphries taking a step back with the return of Howard to the rotation.
Stay tuned for more on Friday night’s game, but the Hawks won’t quite be at full strength in Charlotte.