The Atlanta Hakws suffered a significant loss early in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season, when star center Al Horford suffered a pectoral injury. The injury knocked him out of action just 11 games into the regular season. He has not played in a regular-season game since Jan. 11, when he played only six minutes in a loss to the Indiana Pacers. Horford underwent pectoral surgery on Jan. 17, but the team has carried on well without him, clinching a playoff berth. Now it appears there is a chance Horford could return in time to play in the postseason.
According to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Horford has been medically cleared for contact work. He had returned to the team for non-contact practice over two weeks ago, but will now begin taking contact drills and preparing to play again. This is great news for the Hawks as the regular season winds down.