After missing the final two months of the Hawks’ 2015-16 season, Tiago Splitter will likely be out to start the team’s follow-up effort. Although, it’s not for the same injury.
The former Spurs big man will miss at least four weeks after suffering what was determined Tuesday to be a Grade 2 hamstring strain, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Splitter did not suffer the injury during one of Atlanta’s initial preseason games, but rather going down in practice.
Mike Budenholzer didn’t say the latest setback was one that should generate much scrutiny. A February hip surgery helped limit Splitter to 36 games last season, his first with the Hawks.
“I wouldn’t say concern,” Budenholzer said Monday, via Vivlamore. “There are going to be different phases … strengthening and condition the lower body. We feel the hip is in a good place but it’s all connected at the end of the day. We’ll hope that all this goes well.”
This diagnosis will force the Hawks further into their bench in their effort to back up Dwight Howard. Mike Muscala started for the injured Paul Millsap against the Cavaliers Monday night. Kris Humphries and Mike Scott also reside on the Atlanta roster, but both profile as 4s, whereas Splitter is a direct backup to Howard.
Splitter saw his points and rebounds per game decline noticeably upon being traded to the Hawks in 2015. His age-31 season featured 5.6 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per night in 16.1 minutes per contest — Splitter’s sparsest usage since his rookie campaign. Supplementing Tim Duncan in the years prior, Splitter averaged at least 8.2 points per game in each of the past four seasons.