Atlanta Hawks backup big man Gustavo Ayon will miss the next 4-8 weeks with a shoulder injury. The PF/C returned to Atlanta for an MRI exam on Tuesday and it revealed he has inflammation in his shoulder and a rotator cuff strain.
Ayon got injured in the first quarter of Monday’s preseason opener against the Heat in Miami when he was chasing after a loose ball and got his arm twisted when he and Heat point guard Norris Cole collided. Ayon was only on the court for 3 minutes and 41 seconds when the injury occurred.
The 6’10” Mexican native spent the majority of last season with Orlando, until he was packaged with J.J. Redick and shipped out to Milwaukee on the trade deadline. After the season ended, the Bucks released him on July 25 — he was claimed off waivers by the Hawks four days later.
Ayon broke into the NBA in December of 2011 when he signed with the New Orleans Hornets after playing for Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in Spain. After his rookie season in New Orleans, he was traded to Orlando in a sign-and-trade deal for Ryan Anderson.
The 28-year-old has been a member of Mexico’s national basketball team since 2007. He recently led the squad to a gold medal game victory against Puerto Rico at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, and was named MVP of the tournament.
Ayon has an injury-riddled history since his rookie year in the NBA. He only appeared in 54 games (24 starts) with New Orleans in 2011-12. Then, 43 games (3 starts) with Orlando and 12 games (0 starts) with Milwaukee in 2012-13. Last season was especially tough from him because he missed time due to a broken toe followed by a knee injury.
The Hawks tip-off the regular-season on October 30th, which would be 3 weeks after Ayon’s diagnosis. If the initial time table of 4-8 weeks is accurate and they are no setbacks in his recovery, he should be back 1-5 weeks after the season opener. That means the earliest likely return of Ayon will be for the Nov. 9th game at home vs Orlando (his former team), which would only be five games into the season, or the latest being sometime during Atlanta’s four-game home stand from Dec. 4th to Dec. 13th, when 19 games would have passed.
Regardless of when Ayon comes back, I’m sure I can speak for all Hawks fans in wishing him a healthy and speedy recovery.