Hinrich and Pargo return and so do tougher Hawks


Jan 3

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It was a return of the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday in the United Center, and the Kirk Hinrich still wasn’t playing.

“It was a tough summer,” conceded the former longtime Bull, who missed last spring’s 4-2 Bulls win over the Hawks with a hamstring injury. “Originally, when I had the surgery it was supposed to be 10 to 12 weeks. But now it’s eight weeks (and) I’m cleared now to do everything but non-contact work. So I’m excited to be able to get out with the guys and do some of the conditioning work to get where I need to be.”

Hinrich spent much of the summer recovering from his hamstring injury which kept him out of the Bulls series. But then he experienced pain in his left shoulder in the fall, and had to undergo surgery for a torn labrum.

He said he couldn’t recall doing anything specifically to cause the injury, but it was something he might have had for two or three years that merely worsened.

“I guess it started pressing on a nerve and I got to feel it,” said Hinrich.

Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose

Hinrich is on the final season of his NBA contract and says he and his family have come to enjoy Atlanta. But he said he’s not thinking about much now but getting back on the court, which could be in two weeks.

“I appreciate the fans here,” Hinrich said when asked about Chicago. “It’s a place I enjoy playing, for sure.”

But Hinrich said this Hawks team, which won in Miami Monday, could have possibilities.

“We’ve got a pretty big ceiling,” Hinrich said. “I love the additions we made. We’ve been really good defensively this year. We’ve got versatility, big guys who can run. We’re exciting.”

The Hawks showed some of that to open the game with Josh Smith and Marvin Williams beating Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng for easy baskets as Richard Hamilton remained sidelined with Ronnie Brewer starting again.

Also excited was another former Bull, Jannero Pargo, who got a chance with the Hawks with Hinrich out.

“I knew I’d play again,” said Pargo, who sat out last season after knee surgery. “I wasn’t sure if it would be in the NBA or overseas. I was fine either way.”

But the Hawks had tried to sign Pargo a few years back before he went to Europe for a better offer, and they called with Hinrich out.

“I was one of the few players who the lockout benefitted,” said Pargo. “It gave me more time to rehab my knee and it’s worked out.”

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