Huerter to Miss Upcoming Road Trip

Ben Ladner

Kevin Huerter has been cleared to begin "modified on-court work and return-to-play rehabilitation," the Hawks announced Tuesday afternoon, but the guard will not play in Atlanta's upcoming three-game road trip this week. 

Huerter was reevaluated Monday night by Hawks team doctors for his strained left rotator cuff, suffered against the Nuggets on November 12. When he worked out at the team's shootaround Monday, he used only his right hand and did not shoot any jumpshots. This afternoon, he went through a workout that included the use of both hands and a healthy diet of jumpers. 

"Basically the last step is get back on the court," Lloyd Pierce said at Hawks practice Tuesday. "The range of motion is still improving. It's not like the range of motion is completely back. So it's a strengthening and range of motion concern now. He's continuing to do the rehab stuff, but also incorporate basketball where he's using [the shoulder]." 

The second-year guard was averaging 9.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists prior to his injury, which came just as Huerter had rediscovered his rhythm after a minor knee injury limited him early in the year. 

His absence has been perhaps just as crucial to the Hawks' recent struggles as John Collins' suspension. It denies Atlanta a much-needed ancillary creator and spot-up shooter next to Trae Young, and while De'Andre Hunter has filled in capably as a secondary option, Huerter's acumen as a passer and shooter is a critical loss. 

"It will definitely be sooner than later, in terms of his return," Pierce said. "It's just a matter of that full range of motion and that strength and his tolerance of it against contact."