Atlanta Hawks announce critical injury update on star PG Trae Young

The Atlanta Hawks provided a notable update on injured point guard Trae Young, who has missed the last 22 games.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

There are no games in the NBA with the NCAA Men’s Championship game on tap. But the Atlanta Hawks still made headlines.

“Trae Young, who sustained a left fifth finger torn ligament on Feb. 23, underwent surgery on Feb. 27,” the Hawks announced in a post on X on April 8. “He had his six-week follow-up evaluation earlier today and has been cleared for team practice and contact.”

Young remains listed as out for the Hawks matchup against the Miami Heat on April 9.

Still, this is very much in line with his comments about his return from surgery on his pinky that has cost him the last 22 games.

I feel good, definitely,” Young said on the “From The Point” podcast on April 5.

“It's getting better. I'm getting close to making a fist again, and, yeah, then I can get on the court and do some ball-handling stuff,” Young said. “And if I wasn't a point guard that needed both my hands to dribble and pass, then I probably would have been able to come back maybe this week.

“I got another um call with the doctor next Monday. ... Hopefully, next week I can make a fist and I can get out of this cast, and then I can play. So, hopefully, next week.”

The Hawks have gone 12-10 in Young’s absence. 

But they are 2-3 in their last five outings, and they have been held to fewer than 115 points in four of those games. They were 2-5 in Young’s last seven appearances, so he won’t isn’t likely to be a cure-all.

He was, however, playing well enough to believe he could significantly boost the Hawks’ chances of survival in the Play-In Tournament and, they surely hope, the playoffs.

Young was averaging 10.7 assists even as he averaged 20.3 points and shot 29% from deep.

Both of those latter figures are well below his season averages –26.4 PPG and 37.1% 3P – while the Hawks’ defensive woes will only be amplified when he’s on the court. But this the perfect time to throw whatever else they might want to try at the wall and see what sticks.

Hawks positioned to experiment with lineups before postseason

The Hawks and Chicago Bulls are locked into the Play-In, left only to jockey for position. Short of that, the Hawks are free to experiment in preparation for the tournament.

There are signs things can work if done properly.

They have a minus-1.1 net efficiency differential with Young and Murray on the floor together, per Cleaning The Glass. But it is plus-2.1 with Young and no Murray, and plus-1.1 when the situation is reversed.

The Hawks could run a two-lineup setup with each star point guard commanding a different unit for the bulk of the game.

That doesn’t solve for crunch time, however, when you would generally want both on the floor.