Trae Young Out Long Term, To Undergo Surgery

In another brutal blow for an Atlanta Hawks team that's had an extremely disappointing season, a problem with his pinkie will now keep star Trae Young out of the lineup for an indefinite period and significantly hamper the Hawks' hopes of holding on to a Play-In spot. 

The three-time All-Star will be undergoing surgery to repair a ligament tear in the fifth finger of his left hand (i.e. his pinkie finger). He'll be re-evaluated in four weeks, but that does not necessarily mean he'll return at that time.  

With only a three-game lead on the Brooklyn Nets for the final Play-In spot, the Hawks will now depend on Dejounte Murray to pick up the slack and take on a much larger role and responsibility in the Atlanta backcourt. 

It'll also be interesting to see if the Hawks give some extended playing time to rookie guard Kobe Bufkin while Young is out. Bufkin has spent a lot of time getting his reps in the G League this year, but he did get in a bit of run for Atlanta in Sunday night's game against the Orlando Magic. In four of his previous five appearances, however, he was given no more than three minutes of playing time. 

He has impressed head coach Quin Snyder recently whenever given the chance to play more than garbage time. 

For now, Bogdan Bogdanovic has moved up into the starting lineup alongside Murray in the backcourt, and Bufkin will start to earn some minutes off the bench.

As for Young, trade rumors have started to surge around the mercurial point guard, with plenty of NBA insiders expecting him to be traded this coming offseason. With this finger injury, it's not out of the question to consider if Young has played his last game in the ATL. 

Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports