The new-look Atlanta Hawks are off to a strong start this season, sitting in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference at 4-2. Unfortunately, they hit a bit of a bump in the road on Saturday. Not only did they lose a nail-biter to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they learned they’ll be without Danilo Gallinari for at least two weeks due to a sprained ankle.
In a press release, the Hawks announced Gallinari underwent an MRI which “confirmed a right ankle sprain with associated swelling and inflammation” and he’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks.
The injury occurred late in the first quarter of the Hawks’ Thursday night win over the Nets, when Gallinari got tangled up with Kyrie Irving. While the two were fighting for a rebound, Irving’s knee hit the back of Gallinari’s leg, causing his ankle to turn. Gallinari left the game and did not return.
In truth this is somewhat of a relief for Gallinari and the Hawks. That was a really awkward collision, and it could have ended up being a lot worse if his knee had gotten twisted as well. As it is, this looks like it will be more of a nuisance than any sort of long-term problem, and Gallinari should be able to recover without too much trouble.
Still, this is not how Gallinari would have wanted to begin his tenure in Atlanta. He’d already missed a few games with a minor foot injury before coming back against the Nets, and now he’ll head right back to the sidelines. In the one full regular season game he did play, he put up 13 points, four rebounds and three assists and seemed to slot in perfectly in the Hawks’ offensive-minded system.
Through six games, the Hawks are putting up 116.7 points per 100 possessions, which is the second-best offensive rating in the league, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks. That they’ve done that mostly without Gallinari shows just how potent their attack is with Trae Young leading the way.