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Al Horford Injury: Hawks Center Still Prepping For Playoffs Return

While Atlanta may be uncertain with the status of center Zaza Pachulia it is beginning to look a little more likely that Al Horford will be at least be available to play when the postseason begins. Horford told the AJC's Michael Cunningham that he is about 70 percent sure that he will be ready for the first round of the playoffs.

While the Hawks haven't counted on a Horford return this season its looking more and more likely that it will happen. Even if Horford is ready to go then he is likely to be phased into the Atlanta lineup slowly by coach Larry Drew.

"We would have to work him in gradually. I wouldn't want to throw him right into the fire. I know his conditioning is not very good because he's been off for so long. It would be a gradual process to get him back adjusted. It will really be how he feels. When you lay off for that long it's tough to get your legs under you."

A less than 100 percent Al Horford would still likely be a shot in the arm for the Hawks whose other center options include Jason Collins and Erick Dampier. Larry Drew has primarily used Ivan Johnson as the back up center of late but he would be well served to get some minutes at the power forward position.

For more on Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks, check out Peachtree Hoops. For a look at everything in the NBA, check out SB Nation's NBA page.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.