National Basketball Association

Hawks' Pachulia to have season-ending surgery

by The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks center Zaza Pachulia will undergo surgery on his sore right Achilles and miss the rest of the season.

The Hawks said the 29-year-old Pachulia is scheduled for surgery Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. The expected recovery time is approximately six months, meaning the Hawks will be without another valuable member of their bench heading into the playoffs. The team already lost guard Lou Williams to a season-ending knee injury.

"I think this is the right decision," Pachulia said Saturday before the Hawks played Orlando. "I'll be able to come back as soon as possible. It's a partial tear ... I'll take this injury rather than a total rupture."

In 52 games this season, including 15 starts, Pachulia averaged 5.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.8 minutes. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and may have played his last game for the Hawks.

Atlanta was missing two other players Saturday against Orlando. Starting center Al Horford missed his second straight game due to an illness, while backup guard John Jenkins was out with a concussion.

Pachulia will definitely be missed this season. The Hawks have already clinched a playoff berth but still have a chance to improve their seeding.

"He plays a playoff style, the way he throws his body around," coach Larry Drew said. "You can see how his style, it just fits playoff basketball."

Pachulia had not played since a March 3 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles, missing 15 games before deciding on surgery. He has visited multiple doctors seeking information about his injury.

"After thoroughly reviewing the possible options with Zaza, we all felt this was the best decision to ensure Zaza's complete recovery so that he can be at 100 percent going forward," Hawks president and general manager Danny Ferry said. "Zaza is a professional with a strong work ethic. The Hawks will continue to be completely supportive as he tackles the return-to-play process."

Pachulia has been with the Hawks for eight seasons and became a fan favorite with his rugged play, most notably a forehead-to-forehead confrontation with Boston's Kevin Garnett in the 2008 playoffs.

The Hawks are expected to make a major overhaul no matter how far they advance in the playoffs, since they have only a handful of players under contract for next year.

Ferry, however, went with Pachulia to at least one of his doctor visits.

"The Hawks are supporting me all the way," the native of Georgia said. "I think we're on the same page."



More Sports

College Football/Where Are They Now?

Former prep stars take Mercer into new conference

There's not a lot of rich football history at Mercer University, but there's plenty of enthusiasm as the private school in Macon goes into i ... Read More


Coweta athletes pick up gold, silver at AAU Junior Olympics

DES MOINES - Just two days into this year's AAU Junior Olympics Track & Field Championships, the luggage already plans to be a little he ... Read More


High School Football

Depth in backfield could give Newnan’s offense a push

Aside from financial recourse in terms of facilities and/or salaries, maybe the biggest handicap high school football coaches have com- pare ... Read More


Indians putting pieces together for first season under Pardue

Steve Pardue has watched his share of East Coweta game film since accepting the Indians head football job in late January, enough to have a ... Read More


Johnson, Hicks close Thunder schedule with third-place efforts

Senoia drivers Tina Johnson and Joshua Hicks closed out this year’s schedule at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s annual Thursday Thunder ... Read More

Hughes again team to beat in Region 3-AAAAAA

Mike McDonald obviously meant his words in jest. But amidst a table of Region 3-AAAAAA head football coaches on Thursday morning, there may ... Read More