24 Jan

Hawks star placed in concussion protocol, out indefinitely

The Atlanta Hawks have placed star point guard Trae Young in the concussion protocol, the team announced on Sunday. Young will be out indefinitely as he begins the NBA’s mandated Return-to-Participation process, which requires players to display symptom-free behavior in order to be cleared for basketball activities.

Young was injured in the team’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 20. Early in the fourth quarter, Young was back in transition defense and stepped in to take a charge on Isaac Okoro. While he was successful in doing so, he took a shot to the face in the process and had to leave the game.

Trae Young is heading to the locker room after taking this charge from Isaac Okoro. pic.twitter.com/Cs8R0syyV1

— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) January 21, 2024
Young, who finished with 15 points and five assists, did not return as the Hawks saw their three-game winning streak snapped. The Hawks are mired in a disappointing 18-24 season, and are clinging to 10th place and the final Play-In Tournament spot in the Eastern Conference. Entering Sunday, they were half a game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and 2.5 games up on the Toronto Raptors.

Maintaining that spot without Young will be a challenge. The sixth-year guard is 10th in the league in scoring at 26.9 points per game and second overall in assists with a career-high 10.8. Luka Doncic and Devin Booker are the only other players in the league in the top-10 of both categories.

In the final fan voting returns for the 2024 All-Star Game, Young was second among East guards with 1,815,898 votes. Depending on how media and player voting turns out, Young could be named an All-Star starter for the third time in his career. Either way, he will almost certainly be named an All-Star this season.

Whether he’ll be able to participate in Indianapolis next month, however, depends on how he recovers from this concussion. While he has nearly a month to get healthy, there are unfortunately no guarantees when it comes to to head injuries.

With Young sidelined, the Hawks will turn the offense over to Dejounte Murray, who hit back-to-back game-winners earlier this week and has been the subject of near-constant trade rumors. Despite Young’s injury, the Hawks could still move Murray by the Feb. 8 deadline if they receive a suitable offer.

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