Atlanta Hawks starting point guard Trae Young is listed as questionable when the San Antonio Spurs make their only visit to State Farm Arena on Tuesday.
Young had his sprained right ankle examined on Monday and later practiced with the team as he closes in on making his return. Young suffered the injury on Oct. 29 at Miami after playing 11 minutes.
While the team wants their centerpiece player back in the lineup, the Hawks are being protective of his long-term health.
Young was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after scoring 77 points in the first two games of the season. He’s averaging 26.8 points, 7.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds.
Young is just one of several Atlanta players dealing with injuries. Having a rare four-day break between games has given time for Young, Evan Turner (right Achilles), Kevin Huerter (right knee) and John Collins (left ankle) to heal. Huerter missed the entire preseason and is on restricted minutes.
The Hawks said Turner will miss his third straight game against the Spurs. Collins is questionable while center Alex Len (rib) is probable.
“I’d say as a group, the NBA players love time off, days off, to just rest our body,” Collins said. “All this travel, all the games, media, everything we have to do, all combined together, makes a nice workload, so it’s always nice to have a couple days off.”
Collins twisted his ankle in the third quarter against the Heat, had it looked at in the locker room and returned in the fourth quarter.
Atlanta will be trying to break a three-game losing streak, the most recent being a 106-97 setback to Miami. After winning its first three games, San Antonio has lost two of its last three, including a 103-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
San Antonio swept the two games with Atlanta last season. The Spurs lead the all-time series 55-38, but Atlanta has won 26 of 46 meetings at home.
The Spurs are led by veterans DeMar DeRozan, who averages 20.3 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who averages 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. Aldridge recently surpassed the 8,000-career rebound mark and became the first player to hit 18,000 points and 8,000 rebounds since he was drafted in 2006.
Trey Lyles, who signed as a free agent over the summer, has struggled to score, but averages 7.7 rebounds, including a team-high 14 against Golden State.
“He is doing a good job for us,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He gets loose balls and has great hands.”
Said Aldridge: “I didn’t know he was such a good rebounder. He’s been great for us trying to move the ball side-to-side, crash the boards and just try to do all the little things out there.”
San Antonio’s Derrick White fell on his right hip in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game with the Lakers and had to leave the game. White earlier scored 20 in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Last season in Atlanta, White tallied 18 points, nine assists, six rebounds and a career-best six blocks in 29 minutes.
The teams play again on Jan. 17 in San Antonio, where the Spurs have won 21 straight against the Hawks.
–Field Level Media