Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t necessarily pretty for the Atlanta Hawks but, in an overall sense, it was a successful result for the team to hold serve against a similarly proficient opponent. However, there was an injury-related cloud hanging over the festivities when Kent Bazemore left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and, on Sunday afternoon, word broke that the veteran wing will be sidelined for an extended period.
The Hawks announced that Bazemore will be sidelined for at least two weeks with what the team calls a sprained right ankle. For additional clarity, an MRI was performed on the ankle and Bazemore will be re-evaluated after that two-week timeframe. As was the case with Taurean Prince, a timetable for re-evaluation does not always project as an actual return to game action, which is important to note.
Bazemore was injured on the play below and, after taking two free throws, he quickly exited to the locker room.
Bazemore was hurt on this play. Called for a sub, found out it was a shooting foul, took FTs then committed a foul to get out. pic.twitter.com/675cima1wt— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) December 30, 2018
In recent days, Bazemore has performed at a high level for the Hawks, averaging 18.7 points per game and shooting 39.7 percent from three over the 10-game period prior to Saturday’s early exit. As a result, his absence will certainly be felt by a team that is still operating without another starting-caliber wing in Prince and, in Bazemore’s absence, players like Kevin Huerter, DeAndre’ Bembry and Justin Anderson (in addition to Tyler Dorsey and/or Daniel Hamilton) will need to assume larger roles.
The timing, to say the least, is not ideal for either player or team, with Atlanta playing its best basketball of the season and Bazemore arguably playing his best basketball of his career. Beyond that, there are potential implications with regard to the upcoming trade deadline and this is certainly a situation to monitor moving forward.