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Al Horford makes it official: He will not be back for playoffs

Mar 14, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

This was expected when Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford tore his pectoral muscle, he had to have surgery and was done for the season.

But with the Hawks playing better than expected for rookie coach Mike Budenholzer — thanks to an All-Star year from Paul Millsap — Atlanta is going to be a playoff team (barring an utter collapse while the suddenly hot Knicks keep it going, the combination of which is not likely). With Horford Atlanta was the third best team in the East, could he return for the postseason?

No. That’s what Horford told the Associated Press.

“No. I think it would be hard. This injury, honestly, was a little more severe than the other (time he had the same injury),” he explained Thursday in his first meeting with reporters since the injury. “And it’s my right side, shooting arm, and I need to feel 100 percent confident with it, so I think it’s going to be a little bit slower.”

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If you’re looking for a positive spin, Horford could come back a better player.

“I’ve always neglected and hated using my left hand . . . so I think this is going to really challenge me to work on that,” he said. “It’s a big challenge but I’m up for it.”

It will just be next season before we see that left hand.

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