Last year the Atlanta Hawks failed to recapture the magic of their captivating 2014-15 season. They still managed to secure the fourth seed in the East but were unceremoniously swept aside in the second round by the eventual champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
While the results were disappointing, the Hawks medical team maintained their recent run of good health despite a revamped medical team. Art Horne replaced long-time and well-respected athletic trainer Wally Blasé and proved he was up to the task right from the start. Horne, along with the newly added director of rehabilitation Michael Roncarati and executive director of the athletic performance Keke Lyles, effectively managed the recoveries of Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Korver. As a result, the Hawks finished with the fourth lowest total of games lost to injury in the league and were the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference. The fact that Tiago Splitter, a player with a history of lower extremity problems, accounted for 70 percent of Atlanta’s games lost further highlights the impressive job the medical team did in maintaining the collective health of their players.
After an active offseason that altered the dynamics of the teams, Horne and company will again need to get off to a good start. All-Star forward Paul Millsap was limited through a majority of the preseason after undergoing a “preventative procedure to reduce mild swelling” in his right knee and will need to be eased back into things. Atlanta’s big offseason addition, veteran Dwight Howard, could also require extra attention. Howard has a history of injuries that will demand routine maintenance including his surgically repaired back.