On Sept. 27, the Atlanta Hawks announced that second-year wing Kevin Huerter underwent an MRI to examine right knee pain. While that evaluation indicated no structural damage, Huerter was limited in the early portion of Atlanta’s training camp — with stated treatment “to reduce inflammation and increase his load tolerance” — and the 21-year-old was sidelined for the team’s first three preseason games.
In advance of Atlanta’s road game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Hawks announced that Huerter would be sidelined once again and, before tip-off, head coach Lloyd Pierce provided an update on Huerter’s status.
“He tweaked his knee, or just felt a little pinge in it, on Saturday in a scrimmage. So that set him back.” Pierce said, via Peachtree Hoops alum and UPROXX Sports senior writer Robby Kalland. “We were aiming to get him to play on Monday. So the setback was from Saturday and he felt better Monday. We just wanted to see him on the court yesterday and today.”
Pierce also indicated that Huerter went through a workout after Atlanta’s shootaround on Wednesday, but the head coach did not have a full report as to how that exercise went, nor did he provide an estimated timetable for Huerter’s on-court debut.
Huerter, a second team All-Rookie selection for the 2018-19 season, is projected by many as the No. 3 option for the Hawks this season. The former Maryland star converted 38.5 percent of his three-point attempts as a rookie and, in looking ahead, Huerter’s presence will be crucial in providing floor spacing and secondary creation on the wing for the Hawks, while also holding up at a reasonable level defensively.
Moreover, Huerter’s absence is compounded, at least to some degree, by Allen Crabbe’s injury, leaving the Hawks without two of their more dynamic three-point weapons. Huerter appeared for more than 2,000 minutes as a rookie but, until he takes the floor for the first time as a “sophomore,” there will be some uneasiness about his timetable for return.
After the team’s final preseason game in Chicago on Thursday, the Hawks will open the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 24 on the road against the Detroit Pistons.