Hawks offer ominous updates on Kobe Bufkin, Mouhamed Gueye

Atlanta Hawks, Kobe Bufkin. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Kobe Bufkin. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Hawks rookies Kobe Bufkin and Mouhamed Gueye – the Nos. 15 and 39 overall picks in the 2023 draft, respectively – have both missed or finished as DNP-CDs in all but two games this season.

The coveted Bufkin is dealing with a fractured thumb while Gueye was listed with a “back strain”.

The team has updated the status of both players and the short-term outlook is not good for either of them.

“Guard Kobe Bufkin underwent an X-Ray and medical review yesterday on his left thumb which he fractured on Nov. 2,” read the team’s release shared to X on November 12. “His return to play timeline is 8-to-10 weeks from the date of the injury.”

That would mean Bufkin is out at least until December 28. If he did return on that date, it would be in time to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road in the final of the Hawks’ In-Season Tournament Group Play contests. On the long end, Bufkin could be out until the Hawks host the Indiana Pacers.

Bufkin is averaging 0.5 points and 1.0 rebounds in his two appearances this season. He was slated to get some run with the College Park Skyhawks in the G League before the injury.

Hawks’ Mo Gueye sets to miss time too

“Mouhamed Gueye, who has missed the last two games with a right lower back strain, underwent an MRI [on November 11],” the release continued. “The MRI revealed a right low back stress fracture. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks and his status will be updated as appropriate.”

Gueye is 0-for-1 with one steal and one personal foul this season. He too figured to be a contributor to the Skyhawks before the injury. But the projected timeline would mean he is out until December 11 at the earliest.

That is when the Hawks will face the reigning champion Denver Nuggets.

While neither player was expected to play a significant role for the big club, it is still a blow both for the team and the individuals who will miss out on valuable developmental reps.

That’s both physical in the G League and the mental reps of being on the sidelines, watching the established Hawks night in and night out. Especially Bufkin who had the clearer path to NBA minutes of the two even with a plethora of capable ball-handlers ahead of him in the Hawks’ rotation.

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The Hawks will next take the court on November 14 when they visit the Detroit Pistons in their first In-Season Tournament contest.