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Preview: Hawks visit Bulls in regular season opener

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Update: Clint Capela has been ruled out for Wednesday’s season opener.

The Atlanta Hawks finally open the 2020-21 regular season on Wednesday evening, taking the floor in a game that counts for the first time since mid-March. While the Hawks will have to wait to play in State Farm Arena, Atlanta visits the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls in a battle between Eastern Conference foes.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, the story of the day is the injury report, with several members of the roster battling issues. In advance of tip-off, it was already known that Kris Dunn, Onyeka Okongwu and Tony Snell would be unavailable for the Hawks, but Rajon Rondo has already been ruled out, with the Hawks citing the NBA’s health and safety protocols as the explanation. Sarah Spencer of the AJC reports that Rondo’s absence is tied to attending a funeral, and he has not tested positive for COVID-19.

From there, Clint Capela (left Achilles soreness) is listed as doubtful, which came as a surprise on Tuesday evening. Capela appeared in all four preseason games and, while he was not necessarily explosive from a physical standpoint, there was no indication that his status would be in jeopardy for the opener. Brandon Goodwin (right elbow sprain) is questionable to play, with Kevin Huerter (right elbow soreness) and Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) listed as probable.

At the time of this post, it is unclear what the Hawks will do in the lineup if Capela is unable to play, but his absence would leave John Collins, Danilo Gallinari and Bruno Fernando as the only options at the center spot. For Chicago, Thaddeus Young (leg) is out, with Tomas Satoransky listed as questionable due to health and safety protocols.

The Hawks are currently listed as two-point favorites on the road, which shows faith in Atlanta’s roster upgrades while still indicating a virtual toss-up against the Bulls. Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest, with a game thread to arrive shortly before tip-off.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, Dec. 23, 8:00 pm ET

Location: United Center

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)