Update: The official injury lists Kevin Huerter as probable for Wednesday’s season opener against the Detroit Pistons.
The Atlanta Hawks operated without Kevin Huerter for the entirety of the preseason, as the second-year wing was sidelined with what the team described as “right knee pain.” Prior to Atlanta’s fourth exhibition contest in New York, head coach Lloyd Pierce indicated that Huerter “felt a little pinge” in his ailing knee during a scrimmage and he described the incident as something of a “setback” for Huerter.
With that as the backdrop, Pierce was prompted about Huerter’s status after Saturday’s practice and he indicated it was “too soon” to assess the sophomore’s readiness for the regular season. From there, the head coach said the Hawks would be “extra cautious” when dealing with Huerter’s recovery but, on Tuesday, the news was better when Pierce praised Huerter’s performance in practice.
Per Lloyd Pierce, Kevin Huerter (right knee pain) "had an unbelievable day, start to finish" in practice today.— Sarah K. Spencer (@sarah_k_spence) October 22, 2019
All signs seem to be pointing to Huerter being healthy for the season, as he's put together a few good days of practice.
Finally, the moment of (relative) truth arrived on Wednesday afternoon, with Pierce indicating that Huerter is on track to appear in a reserve role against the Pistons.
Lloyd Pierce said that Kevin Huerter went through practice just fine.— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) October 23, 2019
Cam Reddish will start. Huerter will come off bench and be capped at around 15 minutes after missing the preseason.
The league-mandated injury report should arrive on Wednesday afternoon but all indications are that Huerter will appear. As noted by Kevin Chouinard of Hawks.com and the ATL and 29 podcast, the 21-year-old wing will be limited in terms of workload, with Cam Reddish (on a 25-minute restriction of his own) getting his first NBA start.
It makes sense that Huerter would be operating on a minutes restriction, simply because he hasn’t participated in a fully sanctioned basketball game in more than six months. Still, Huerter knocked down 38.5 percent of his three-point attempts as a rookie and, when combined with his aptitude as an on-ball option, his return (and general availability) would be a god-send for the Hawks.
Following the match-up with the Pistons, the Hawks will return home for the opener at State Farm Arena against the Orlando Magic on Saturday.