Hawks' Trae Young says he feels better after late-season warmup for play-in game versus Bulls

Updated Apr. 15, 2024 7:47 p.m. ET

ATLANTA (AP) — A healthy Trae Young gives the Atlanta Hawks' their best hope for overcoming season-long injury woes and advancing past the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

Young hopes he can provide his normal production after playing three games at the end of the regular season. His minutes were restricted after missing 23 games with a torn ligament in his left pinkie, but he said he hopes to have his normal minutes in Wednesday night's game at Chicago.

Young's return wasn't enough to prevent the Hawks from entering the play-in tournament with a six-game losing streak. He averaged 25.7 points in the regular season, but was limited to 14, 19 and 12 points in his three-game warmup for the play-in tournament.

“I feel a lot better,” Young said after Monday's practice, adding he gained confidence from seeing his playing time rise to 32 minutes in an ugly 157-115 loss at Indiana to close the regular season. Young had 12 points and 11 assists in the loss.


“I'm just trying to make sure I can play at least close to my minutes that I played in the regular season in play-in games,” Young said.

After already losing forward Saddiq Bey to a season-ending knee injury, the Hawks will be without two other key players in their frontcourt, forward Jalen Johnson and center Onyeka Okongwu, for the play-in tournament.

“That’s just something, as I’ve said, really, it’s no different than throughout the course of the year,” said coach Quin Snyder. “The guys that you do have, they have to be ready to go and have to play at a high level, and you can’t lament those things. So we’ll be ready.”

Johnson, one of the team’s most productive starters with his averages of 16.0 points and 8.7 rebounds, will miss at least three weeks with a right ankle sprain. Okongwu will miss at least four weeks following a non-surgical procedure last week to address inflammation in his left big toe. Okongwu averages 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds.

“Obviously you just play the cards you’re dealt,” Young said. “... That’s just my mentality. You know I feel like we can still win with the players we have, so I’m going to go out there and try to do it.”


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