Hawks practice report: Belinelli ‘for sure’ he’ll be ready for season opener

(Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Hawks guard Marco Belinelli played in the first exhibition game but developed soreness in his left Achilles and has missed the past three. He said the plan is to participate in some five-on-five scrimmage during practice on Wednesday and, if that goes well, play in the exhibition finale on Thursday.

After playing 1,778 minutes for the Hornets last season Belinelli logged 223 minutes for the Italian national team during the Eurobasket 2017 tournament. He said he’s not sure if the soreness is related to playing in the international tournament.

“I don’t know why,” Belinelli said today after doing some shooting drills following practice. “I was good when I was here first days in Atlanta. Then I played a game against Miami (and) I think everything start from there. Or maybe (it’s) sore from the national team. I don’t know about that. I feel good right now. We’ll see. The important thing is to be ready for the season.”

Belinelli, 31, said he “for sure” would be ready for the Oct. 18 season opener even if he doesn’t play on Thursday.

Back-to-back

The Hawks play the Mavericks on Thursday and then play at Dallas in the first regular-season game next week. Basketball is not football—there are no elaborate changes in game plans or usage of personnel from game-to-game. Still, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer still isn’t sure how he will approach Thursday’s contest as far as strategy and usage of his regulars.

“I’ve gone back and forth and I haven’t come to a final decision,” he said. “It’s a little strange to finish with a team that you are then going to play on opening night. I don’t know, maybe coach Rick (Carlisle) likes it. For sure it’s not my ideal scenario and I wouldn’t think most coaches’ ideal scenario.

“But it’s there. It’s not like we are reinventing the wheel. Coach Carlisle can. He’s actually pretty amazing.”

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