Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia inactive for playoffs?

Kenyon Martin #4 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates after scoring against Al Horford #15 and Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 28, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets deafeated the Hawks 100-90.(February 27, 2011 - Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

Atlanta Hawks big men Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia could miss the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics and possibly the rest of the season.

Horford, who has been out since Jan. 17 following pectoral surgery, was asked Sunday to rate his likelihood of returning to the Hawks lineup from 1-10 and he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I would say a 7. I really want to play. I don’t know if it’s the smartest thing for me physically but I want to be out there and I feel like it’s realistic.”

That was yesterday… Today it’s a different story:

“I don’t feel like it is realistic that I can play for the playoffs,” Horford told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. “Obviously, if we advance and start going we will see. But as of right now the way I feel I think I am out for the playoffs.”

Atlanta’s back-up big man Zaza Pachulia has been sidelined for the past five games due to a sprained left foot and has coach Larry Drew questioning if he’ll be ready for the post-season.

“I’m hoping so,” head coach Larry Drew told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s certainly doing better than, from my understanding, what they had anticipated.”

With Pachulia and Horford inactive, Drew has been forced to start 11-year veteran Jason Collins and forward Josh Smith at the center position.

Topics: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Jason Collins, Josh Smith, Larry Drew, Zaza Pachulia

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