The Atlanta Hawks continue to battle a Covid outbreak within the team, and some news dropped on that front on Saturday evening. Tim Bontemps of ESPN reports that Hawks head coach Nate McMillan has entered health and safety protocols, while Atlanta could get three players back ahead of Monday’s game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. Assistant coach Joe Prunty will man the Hawks’ staff in the absence of McMillan and lead assistant Chris Jent per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
With Nate McMillan and top assistant Chris Jent in Covid protocols, assistant Joe Prunty is next up to become the acting head coach, sources tell ESPN. Hawks play Portland on Tuesday. https://t.co/Ivy4r84iGO
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 1, 2022
Kevin Huerter, Onyeka Okongwu and Danilo Gallinari are all expected to clear protocols on Saturday per Bontemps.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan has entered the health and safety protocols, while several players will clear them today, including Kevin Huerter, Onyeka Okwongu and Danilo Gallinari.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 1, 2022
This will obviously provide a huge boost to the rotation if these guys are going to be ready to go Monday in Portland. It remains to be seen if any of these players will be held out for conditioning or placed on any sort minutes restrictions.
The Hawks have played their last handful of games shorthanded and that will continue as even if these guys are activated ahead of Monday’s game. John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Delon Wright, Gorgui Dieng, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper are still trying to register negative tests so they can clear protocols and get back on the floor. Atlanta will have four road games in seven days starting Monday and can use all of the depth they can get as this extended undermanned stretch has no doubt been difficult for everyone involved.