The Atlanta Hawks are off to a strong start in 2020-21, taking advantage of internal improvement from young players and added depth after a busy offseason. However, the Hawks have done much of their early-season damage without Danilo Gallinari, and the team will be without the talented forward for at least two additional weeks.
After Gallinari appeared for 24 minutes in the season opener, he missed two games with what the Hawks referred to as a left foot contusion. On Wednesday, the veteran returned to action against the Brooklyn Nets but, after just two minutes of action, he left the floor with a right ankle issue. Gallinari was sidelined for Friday’s rematch and, during Saturday’s tilt against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Hawks announced that an MRI “confirmed a right ankle sprain with associated swelling and inflammation.”
The timeline for his return is unclear, though the Hawks announced Gallinari will be reviewed in two weeks. It is crucial to point out that re-evaluation does not mean definite return but, in following that timeline, Gallinari would miss at least seven additional games. The first game after the two-week re-evaluation period is Atlanta’s MLK Day home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the Hawks returning from a three-game road trip that concludes on Saturday, Jan. 16.
In Gallinari’s absence, the Hawks will rely even more heavily on John Collins, Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, Solomon Hill, Bruno Fernando and others, with the potential return of Onyeka Okongwu looming in the coming days. Still, Atlanta will not be at full strength for a while, and Gallinari’s contributions, particularly on the offensive end, are difficult to replace.