The Hawks have two their three injured starters back — but there is no definitive word on when Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore will return to the starting lineup or whether Thabo Sefolosha will return.
Millsap returned Sunday after missing eight games with synovitis in his left knee. He played 26 minutes off the bench and scored 14 points of 4-of-14 shooting. He was asked following practice Tuesday when he would like to return to his normal role and minutes as the Hawks have five games remaining in the regular season.
His answer was Thursday, the Hawks’ next game against the Celtics.
“I want to. … The reality is I don’t know. Talk to Coach (Mike Budenholzer). Talk to the training staff. We’ll see.”
Budenholzer said Millsap responded well to his first game back and the workout Tuesday.
“I thought Paul today was good,” Budenholzer said. “He had a good practice. It’s a lot to expect a player to come without playing (eight) games and really is first full contact was in a game setting. That’s not the easiest. I thought Sunday he was OK, not great. He missed some shots that normally he will make. As far as full minutes on Thursday, that is to be determined. We’ve still got to keep Paul’s health, the big picture and how we get through five games in seven days and preparing for the playoffs.”
Bazemore has played the past three games, all off the bench, after missing five games with a bone bruise in his right knee. Bazemore said he considered his status on when he will return to the starting lineup as day-to-day and that he is feeling good as he continues off-court workouts and treatment.
Budenholzer was non-committal on if Millsap and Bazemore would return to the starting lineup before the end of the regular season. He said each situation would be taken case by case.
“We’ll be conscientious of their minutes all the way up until the end of (the season) and have them where they really build up their stamina,” Budenholzer said.
Sefolosha does not appear close to a return. He has missed the past five games with a strained right groin. Budenholzer said there was no update on a timetable for Sefolosha’s return.
“A little more uncertainty,” Budenholzer said.