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Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu out six months with shoulder injury

Hawks big Onyeka Okongwu

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 6: Onyeka Okongwu #17 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during Round 2, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Playoffs on June 6, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Hawks big Onyeka Okongwu gave the Hawks good minutes during their surprising playoff run, showing – after a slow-starting regular season – why Atlanta drafted him No. 6 last year.

But that momentum has already stalled.

Hawks release:

Onyeka Okongwu underwent surgery earlier tonight in Los Angeles to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic performed the surgery. Okongwu will now enter a period of rest and rehabilitation and is expected to make a full recovery in approximately six months.

This timeline would have Okongwu missing a decent chunk of next season, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 19.

Clint Capela is Atlanta’s starting center. If the Hawks keep starting power forward John Collins in restricted free agency, he can play center. Backup forward Danilo Gallinari can also play center in small-ball lineups.

So, Atlanta has options.

But the Hawks will be in better shape once they can get Okongwu’s development back on track.