Two years ago the Hawks appeared on the cusp of title contention. They had four All-Stars, won 60 regular season games, and made a trip the Conference Finals. Now all four All-Stars reside on other teams and Atlanta finds itself in a rebuild.
Last year’s squad struggled with injuries, finishing with their highest injury totals since the 2013-14 season. For the second start year Tiago Splitter was the primary culprit, missing 56 games with hamstring and calf strains before being dealt to the Sixers. During his year and half stint with Atlanta, the Brazilian big man missed 99 games due to injury while appearing in just 36 regular season contests. Even Paul Millsap, a usual model of durability, missed 13 games with hip and knee problems.
As the team rebuilds, they will do so with a new medical team, led by familiar faces. Former head athletic trainer Art Horne left the Hawks to take the same position with the Celtics so the front office promoted assistant athletic trainer Scottie Parker. The team also elevated Daniel Bove to sports scientist and assistant strength and conditioning coach while naming Brady Howe assistant athletic trainer and Adam Loiacono performance therapist.
The new unit has already begun working, managing the recoveries of DeAndre’ Bembry and Miles Plumlee. Bembry, a second-year forward, suffered a moderate triceps strains in early September but was able to take part in preseason action. Plumlee’s injury, a strained quadriceps, surfaced later in camp and is expected to cost him the start of the regular season. His absence will force Mike Muscala and rookie John Collins to take on larger roles to begin the year.