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Hawks’ Pachulia Out for Season (knee)

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Zaza Pachulia may have played his last game with the Atlanta Hawks.

The 29-year-old center opted for season-ending knee surgery on Monday. The surgery will take place on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C., and is expected to take approximately six months to recover.

“I think this is the right decision,” Pachulia said Saturday. “I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible. It’s a partial tear … I’ll take this injury rather than a total rapture.”

Pachulia has been a fundamental part of the Hawks’ second team this season. In 52 games, he averaged 5.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in a shade under 22 minutes per game. He is set to be a free agent at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have clinched a playoff birth for the sixth straight season. But the team can still improve upon their playoff seed in the last eight games of the season. And that is where Pachulia will be missed.

“He plays a playoff style, the way he throws his body around, coach Larry Drew said. “You can see how his style, it just fits playoff basketball.”

Pachulia suffered a knee injury back on March 3 in a loss to the Lakers. He has missed 15 games since going down with the injury while seeking advice from multiple doctors. Unfortunately, Pachulia ran out of options and opted for surgery.

“After thoroughly reviewing the possible options with Zaza, we all felt this was the best decision to ensure Zaza’s complete recovery so that he can be at 100 percent going forward,” Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said.

The loss of Pachulia will be felt tenfold and drastically hurts their second string lineup as they move into the playoffs.

Advice: While the Hawks are currently tabbed as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings, don’t expect them to leapfrog Chicago or Brooklyn (who are less than 1.5 games ahead of them) or make any waves in the playoffs.

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