Will Clint Capela’s knee injury impact the Atlanta Hawks against Heat?

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks played a tremendous play-in game where they came from behind to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio to move into the playoffs. They will take on the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed, the Miami Heat.

While this is a daunting prospect at the best of times, the Hawks may face the Heat without their starting center Clint Capela. The Swiss pivot hyper-extended his knee in the play-in game after fouling Evan Mobley who then fell into Capela’s leg.

Capela did not return against the Cavaliers leaving Onyeka Okongwu to start the second half. This also meant that Gorgui Dieng saw his first non-junk time minutes since early March. Fortunately for the Hawks Trae Young had a second-half explosion and carried the team through to the playoffs.

The Atlanta Hawks are hoping the injury to Clint Capela is not too serious.

During the Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks, we saw Giannis Antetokounmpo hyperextend his knee. He missed minimal time and came back to win the Finals MVP in their championship season.

The best news for the Hawks would be that there is minimal damage and Capela will also miss minimal time. According to Woj of ESPN, the injury is thought to be minimal, or more specifically it is not significant. If he follows the same path as Antetokounmpo then he will hopefully be right to go in game two or three.

Looking at what Okongwu was able to do with his time on the floor in the second half is not pretty on the box score. However, those who watched the game saw a 6’8″ sophomore work and hustle against three 7-feet players and help his team back into the game for the eventual win. His nine rebounds were telling.

The Hawks have taken on the Heat without Capela before. In that game, Okongwu had the better of the Heat star Bam Adebayo and the Hawks won. However, taking them on for a series without Capela would be problematic. The Hawks are praying for minimal damage and an early return for Capela.

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The other best-case scenario will be for John Collins to recover from his injury issues so that he can play some minutes at the five. While the Hawks should avoid too much of this, Collins at the five is preferable to Dieng taking the court at this time of the season.