The Atlanta Hawks are 3-8 in the month of January, but they will try to finish the month out strong, starting with a Monday matinee against the injury-ravaged Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Hawks have lost two in a row and four of their last five. They fell at home to the San Antonio Spurs, 98-93, on Saturday and lost in Brooklyn Friday night, 94-89.
The loss in Brooklyn hurt even more than normal. Guard Lou Williams came down on a fastbreak, his knee buckled and the worst fears were confirmed. Williams, who finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season as a 76er, tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season.
"We're going to miss him," said head coach Larry Drew. "He was a leader in the locker room. He's a great person to have on the team. We all know what his talents are on the court.
"But in these type situations, you just have to regroup, you have to move on."
The majority of Williams' minutes are expected to go to Vanderbilt rookie John Jenkins. He scored nine points on 3-for-12 shooting in almost 23 minutes against the Spurs.
You'll forgive the Timberwolves if they don't have sympathy for an injury. The team was granted a hardship exception by the NBA because of their injury situation and were allowed to sign an extra player to a 10-day contract.
Mickael Gelabale and Chris Johnson were both signed Saturday morning, then the two scored Minnesota's first 23 points of the fourth quarter that night against the Houston Rockets.
The T-Wolves beat the Rockets, 92-79, to snap a five-game losing streak.
"You've got to give them a lot of credit," said guard J.J. Barea. "They stayed ready. They were playing, and they did a great job of staying ready. That's how you need, you need guys who have a 10-day contract and they take advantage. They get the opportunity, it's a big opportunity for them, too, and they did a great job."
Johnson scored 15 points and Gelabale added 11. Four other Wolves scored in double figures, led by 21 from veteran Andrei Kirilenko.
The injured list for Minnesota is long. All-NBA forward Kevin Love is out with a broken hand. Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger are sidelined indefinitely after surgery. Malcolm Lee is done for the season.
Even Nikola Pekovic, Dante Cunningham and Alexey Shved missed the Rockets game with various problems and none of those three are expected to be back for the Atlanta game.
The Timberwolves bested the Hawks, 108-103, in Minnesota on Jan. 8. The Hawks had won 11 straight against the Wolves prior to their victory earlier in the month. The T'Wolves are winless in nine straight at the Hawks.