The Hawks announced Friday that forward/center Gustavo Ayon has undergone season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.
Ayon's surgery continues a string of bad injury luck for the reeling Hawks, who are just 1-10 since Feb. 4. The killer loss was All-Star center Al Horford, who underwent season-ending surgery to address a torn pectoral muscle back in December. Since then, Atlanta's frontcourt has seen center Pero Antic (ankle), All-Star forward Paul Millsap (knee) and Ayon miss time due to injuries. Second-year guard John Jenkins also underwent season-ending back surgery earlier this month.
The 28-year-old Ayon averaged 4.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16.5 minutes over 26 appearances for Atlanta this season. The Mexican big man saw his role increase significantly after Horford's injury, but he had been sidelined since Feb. 18 after suffering a shoulder injury against the Pacers.
Atlanta's first-year coach Mike Budenholzer started Elton Brand and DeMarre Carroll at center and power forward, respectively, during a Wednesday night loss to the Celtics. Mike Scott, a 2012 second-round pick, was utilized as a third big man off the bench.
In the wake of so many injuries, the Hawks announced the signing of 2013 second-round pick Mike Muscala on Thursday. Muscala, the No. 44 pick in last year's draft, had been playing professionally in Spain after playing four seasons at Bucknell.
“We are really excited that Mike was available to join our team," Hawks GM Danny Ferry said in a statement. "We’ve closely monitored Mike and his progress throughout the ACB season. "Due to our current injuries, Mike’s representatives presented the concept of Mike joining us for the remainder of the season. With our roster situation and his strong play, we felt now was a good time to add Mike to our program." The Hawks enter Friday's action with a 26-31 record, which puts them in the East's No. 8 seed. Detroit, Cleveland and New York are all within 5.5 games of Atlanta with roughly six weeks remaining in the 2013-14 season.