Kirk Hinrich Injury: Who's Going To Defend Derrick Rose Now?

Lost in the hoopla of the Atlanta Hawks' series-clinching 84-81 win over the Orlando Magic on Thursday was an injury that could be costly for the Hawks going forward.

With a little more than three minutes left in a hotly contested game, Hawks point guard slashed to the basket for a much-needed layup. But he came up limping after the play and had to be pulled from the game in crunch time.

The Hawks are calling the injury a strained right hamstring. He will have an MRI on his injured leg on Friday.

Hinrich's injury could come at a tenuous time for a Hawks team that's facing the dangerous Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals starting on Monday.

Conventional wisdom is that Atlanta's going to need to keep Rose in check if they want to win the series. And losing one of the primary defenders against one of the best pure scorers in the league definitely hurts the Hawks, who can ill afford to have Hinrich out for very long.

Joe Johnson already knows that he is going to have his hands full with Rose and is up for the challenge.

"Naw, not at all," Johnson responded when asked if he was worried about guarding Rose after Atlanta's win on Thursday. "If that's what I have to do, that's a challenge I have to take."

Even if Johnson and D-Rose duel for most of the series, he will not be alone. Yes, it will  be nice to have Hinrich there so that Johnson doesn't have to expend that much energy guarding Rose, but the Hawks could also use Jamal Crawford or even Jeff Teague or Damien Wilkins to relieve Johnson in spurts.

Think of the scrappy Wilkins, who was used for less than eight minutes in the first round, as the second round's version of Jason Collins and Zaza Pachulia -- a guy who can be brought in the game in spurts with the sole mission to pester, defend and annoy Rose to get him out of his game.

More will be known about Hinrich later on Friday. But there is definitely a "Plan B" if he can't go for the Hawks in the series.

For more on the series, visit SB Nation's NBA hubPeachtree HoopsBlog-a-Bull, and SB Nation Chicago.

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