Onyeka Okongwu had a rough rookie season with an early injury as he dealt with a foot injury during the draft, but he closed the season strong and played meaningful playoff minutes. for the Hawks on their surprise run to the East. Conference Finals.
That effort certainly seems to have helped the young big man land an impactful second-year campaign as an obvious backup center for Clint Capela in Atlanta, but on Wednesday ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that Okongwu will miss significant time after surgery to repair a torn wound. in his right shoulder – an injury he has been battling since May, per Woj.
Atlanta Hawks center Onyeka Okongwu – sixth overall player in the 2020 NBA Draft – underwent surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder on Wednesday and will be out for about six months, sources told ESPN .
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 22, 2021
The Hawks confirmed the news shortly after.
One @emoryhealthcare Injury update:
Onyeka Okongwu underwent surgery earlier this evening to repair a tear in her right shoulder. Okongwu will now enter a period of rest and rehabilitation and is expected to make a full recovery in about six months. pic.twitter.com/kaxqw4n0ld
– Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) July 22, 2021
A six-month absence means a return in January, as he will miss the first three months of the season when the NBA returns to a normal start in mid-October. It was a significant absence, and his shooting shoulder injury will require a lot of recovery just to get back to shooting basketball. For Okongwu, it will certainly be an uncomfortable setback and another traumatic process to go through at a young age when he should have built on such a promising finish to his season.
For the Hawks, it’s a huge blow to their frontline depth, and Travis Schlenk and company will have to determine how to proceed this season, as it looks like what has been powering the team with the rotation. Their center ring will now probably require a little more attention in free agency.
https://uproxx.com/dimemag/onyeka-okongwu-shoulder-surgery-torn-labrum-out-six-months-hawks/ | Hawks C Onyeka Okongwu Will Miss Six Months After Shoulder Surgery