Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter to miss approximately two months after right wrist surgery, per report

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Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter will miss approximately two months after undergoing wrist surgery, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The injury is the latest in a series of issues Hunter has dealt with since last season, when he played only 23 games. Knee issues were the culprit last season, and though he managed to return briefly in May, he was ultimately ruled out again midway through Atlanta’s surprising playoff run. 

When he did play last season, Hunter emerged as one of the NBA’s best young wings. He is a strong defender who shot well collegiately, but his improvement as a ball-handler and individual shot-creator made him look like a future All-Star at points a season ago. He hadn’t managed to improve upon his sophomore campaign this season, though, as his scoring dipped from 15 to 10.8 points per game. Now, he’ll have to wait a few months to try to right the ship. 

The loss is significant for a Hawks team that has had a disappointing start to the 2021-22 season. They are just 5-9 after coming two wins short of the NBA Finals last season, and prior to Sunday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, had lost six games in a row. Their defense, of which Hunter was a key part, has struggled in particular, ranking 28th thus far this year. 

But the Hawks have a deep roster, even with Hunter now out. Kevin Huerter stepped into Hunter’s starting role on Sunday, and Cam Reddish can take on more forward minutes for Atlanta now that Hunter is out. Atlanta has the personnel to survive this absence, but after such a poor start, this is the last thing the Hawks needed as they try to get their season back on track. 

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