When the Atlanta Hawks selected Duke forward Cam Reddish with the No. 10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the franchise was well aware of a core muscle issue that would sideline the rookie for a significant portion of the summer. In fact, Hawks president of basketball operations and general manager Travis Schlenk indicated on June 22 that Reddish “probably won’t get on the court until the end of July” while still noting that the team did “not have any concerns about his injury.”
With that as the backdrop, it wasn’t a surprise when Reddish was sidelined for NBA Summer League in Las Vegas but, as the summer continued, updates trickled out — first from the AJC, then from The Athletic — pointing to the fact that the talented forward still wasn’t cleared for full basketball activity. On Friday, the Hawks announced that Reddish has been “fully cleared to resume on-court activities and will participate in the upcoming training camp” with the caveat that “he will remain on a load monitoring plan with bulk volume restrictions.”
That is unquestionably positive news for Atlanta but, elsewhere, the Hawks provided an extensive injury update before training camp begins.
The update indicates that both John Collins and Kevin Huerter are battling injury issues ahead of camp, with Collins expressing “discomfort in his right hip” and Huerter arriving with knee pain. Collins underwent an MRI on Wednesday but, at this point, the Hawks indicate that he is “able to participate in on-court activities within prescribed rehab limitations and his on-court loads and intensities will be increased” as training camp progresses. With that said, he will be reviewed at the end of camp and there will be a further update at that time.
As for Huerter, an MRI cleared him of any structural damage and, in the wake of that clarity, he’s been treated to “reduce inflammation and increase his load tolerance.” That allows him to participate in training camp but, like Collins, a further update will come to light at the conclusion of camp.
It is clear that the presence of injuries for Collins and Huerter is far from ideal, particularly on the eve of an important season for each player’s development. On the optimistic side, neither MRI revealed significant, long-term issues, but Atlanta will be forced to manage each situation in the coming days.
In addition to the high-profile ailments to two of the team’s core pieces, Allen Crabbe is expected to miss the entire preseason. The veteran shooting guard, who is also facing legal issues stemming from an arrest over the summer, underwent right knee arthroscopy in April and has not yet been cleared for participation.
Finally, Alex Len experienced low back pain during a voluntary workout this week and, concurrently, he is recovering from a left ankle sprain. The Hawks indicate that he will be “monitored closely over the next four to five days to determine his status for the start of training camp next week.”
Chandler Parsons, who faces an extensive injury history, will be limited in camp with what the Hawks describe as load management.
In summary, three of Atlanta’s projected starters — Collins, Huerter and Len — are experiencing injury issues less than two weeks before the preseason opener. Beyond that, Crabbe projects as a potentially intriguing reserve piece and, at this juncture, he seemingly projects for the longest absence, having effectively been ruled out for the preseason.
There is optimism in the full clearance of Reddish but, in an overall sense, the Hawks enter training camp with far more injury issues than any franchise would like to see from its roster.