The Atlanta Hawks are operating with a shortened frontcourt rotation, with Luke Babbitt (via trade) and Ersan Ilyasova (via buyout) now off the roster for the stretch run. In addition, Tyler Cavanaugh has not appeared for Atlanta since mid-January after suffering an injured ankle during a G League assignment but, on Wednesday, the team made a move that likely indicates a return in the near future.
The Hawks announced that Cavanaugh has been assigned to the Erie BayHawks for a rehab assignment and, at the team’s shootaround earlier in the day, Mike Budenholzer reportedly indicated that he is close to full health.
Mike Budenholzer said that Tyler Cavanaugh was getting close to healthy. Also indicated that he may begin his return with a rehab stint in Erie.— KL Chouinard (@KLChouinard) February 28, 2018
Cavanaugh was a fun story for the Hawks earlier in the season, as the 24-year-old performed well enough to earn a multi-year (albeit non-guaranteed) contract with the team. At the moment, Atlanta has only four big men to deploy on a nightly basis and, in truth, none of them are natural power forwards. With Cavanaugh presumably nearing a return, Budenholzer would have another big man that could stretch the defense offensively and, more importantly, the Hawks would have additional time to evaluate him with an eye toward the future.
It is unknown at this juncture just how long Cavanaugh will be in Erie but, at the very least, this is a step forward in his recovery.