Breaking: Hawks Trae Young to undergo surgery, receives updated timeline

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young will miss an extended period following news that he is undergoing surgery.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks season just took a bleak turn.

Already set to miss the Hawks’ game against the Orlando Magic on February 25 with what was called a “left fifth finger injury”, Trae Young is now set to undergo surgery on the digit.

“During Friday’s game [versus Toronto Raptors, Trae Young suffered a left-hand injury,” the team announced, on February 25. “He underwent an MRI yesterday, which revealed a tear of the radial collateral ligament (RCL) in the fifth finger of his left hand. He will undergo surgery to repair the RCL on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.”

That projected four-week timeline means Young will miss 13 games through March 22. 

There are 26 games left in the regular season. And that projection is only for Young’s re-evaluation.  He will presumably also need to get some practice time to get his rhythm back before getting in a game even if he is cleared right away. 

Young sent a rather cryptic message in the aftermath of the initial announcement on February 24 that he was questionable against the Magic:

"I’ve trusted the plan my whole life
No matter how hard or tough it gets ..
Why stop now?"

The post contains four images, one of which appears to be an otherwise innocuous shot of Young’s injured pinky.

Young is averaging 26.4 points on 58.1% true shooting this season, with career-highs of 10.8 assists and 1.4 steals, adding 2.7 rebounds for good measure. His 37.1% clip on 8.9 attempts per game from beyond the arc are both the second-highest marks of his career.

However, Young had hit a bit of a slump even before suffering the injury.

Young averaged 16.3 points on 48.2% true shooting in the three games leading up to the loss to the Raptors on February 23. He then had a season-low 11 points in that game.

How Trae Young’s injury will impact the Hawks

The Hawks are 24-32 on the season and 2-6 without Young in 2023-24 entering play against the Magic.

They are 2.0 games back of the Chicago Bulls for ninth place.

The Hawks have a minus-2.7 net efficiency differential with Young on the floor, per Cleaning The Glass. Their rating climbs to minus-0.1 when he is off the floor. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement of playing without the three-time All-Star, but it is an improvement nonetheless.

Their slate without him will not be easy, with nine of those 13 games coming on the road, including a five-game road trip before Young’s re-evaluation. 

There are seven playoff teams in that stretch.