Paul Millsap Back, Will Start vs. Warriors

Paul Millsap will return to the Atlanta Hawks’ lineup Friday night at Golden State after missing the previous five games with a right knee contusion.

The news was announced by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Consitution earlier this afternoon.

The All-Star power forward is expected to rejoin the starting lineup immediately alongside Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Elton Brand.

When asked about his knee, Millsap responded, “It’s tough but I had to learn how to control it.” He then added, “We were being more cautious in making sure the problem doesn’t re-occur. Now, we all feel comfortable about it.”

Mike Budenholzer might not be as comfortable as Millsap hopes, saying that Millsap will be on an undetermined minutes restriction.

“We’ll work him back into playing shape and make sure that his knee continues to be in a good place,” Budenholzer said.

Thankfully for Atlanta, Elton Brand’s resurgence back into a starting-caliber player gives Budenholzer another option should he choose to be cautious with Millsap’s minutes. Brand averaged 7.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 blocks over Millsap’s five-game absence.

31-year-old rookie center Pero Antic is also a recent addition back into the Hawks’ rotation. Antic played in Atlanta’s game against the Trail Blazers on March 5 and had 10 points, four rebounds and three turnovers in 16 minutes off the bench. His presence will serve to strengthen Atlanta’s front court.

Millsap is averaging 17.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game for the season. His return could not have come sooner for the reeling Hawks.

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