Hawks coach Nate McMillan says De’Andre Hunter is “down” about having to miss significant time for the second straight season, but McMillan is optimistic that the third-year forward will return in plenty of time to help the team, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hunter had surgery on his right wrist Monday after suffering an injured tendon and is projected to miss a minimum of eight weeks. He was limited to 23 games last season because of knee issues.
“Injuries, it’s going to happen to someone on the team, and you have to adapt, you have to make that adjustment, guys have to keep themselves ready to play because you just never know when it’s going to happen,” McMillan said. “It’s something that unfortunately we did have to deal with last season a lot with our guys and guys stepped up, they were ready to play and we were able to have some success with that. Right now, we’re in that same situation, where we lose Dre but we have guys who can step in and play, and it’s an opportunity for them.”
Spencer notes that Hunter hadn’t returned to the level where he was early last season, but he was still playing an important role. He started all 11 games that he appeared in, ranks fifth on the team in scoring at 10.8 PPG and is one of the Hawks’ best defenders.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Wizards fans fell in love with new center Montrezl Harrell right away and started chanting “MVP” in his first home game whenever he went to the foul line, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Harrell, who was acquired from the Lakers in an offseason trade, appreciates the sentiment, but offered a light-hearted request to fans after Monday’s game. “Yeah, I hate it. I hate it. I ain’t gonna lie to you, I hate it,” he said. “Don’t chant it until the second free throw, I’m not gonna lie to you. Just get me to the second free throw, man. Let me get the edge off with getting that first free throw down because it definitely plays with my head.”
- Wizards forward Davis Bertans, who hasn’t played since spraining his left ankle November 1, is making progress and could return next week, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Bradley Beal, who is away from the team following the death of his grandmother, may return Wednesday, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).
- Hornets forward P.J. Washington, who has been sidelined since November 3 with a hyperextended left elbow, returned to practice today, the team announced (via Twitter).