Trae Young hopes to play through pain.
The Hawks point guard suffered a right ankle sprain in the third quarter of Atlanta’s Game 3 home loss, 113-102, to the Bucks on Sunday in the Eastern Conference finals, which Milwaukee leads 2-1.
Young, who finished the night with 35 points, told reporters he’ll continue to receive treatment ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 in Atlanta. Even if he plays, Young being compromised could be a big blow to the Hawks’ championship hopes.
“It’s sore right now. It’s hurting. It’s frustrating… I got some treatment on it. I’m going to get some more in the morning,” he said. “That’s all I can do right now is get treatment… Hopefully it feels better before next game.”
Young will have an MRI on Monday to determine an exact diagnosis.
Young suffered the injury with 36 seconds to go in the third quarter. Bucks guard Jrue Holiday stole the ball from him, and while trying to get back on defense, Young unintentionally stepped on the right foot of referee Sean Wright, who was standing out of bounds.
Young fell to the ground immediately in pain. He would exit the game, and while making his way to the locker room for treatment, he appeared to struggle walking with a slight limp.
The Hawks training staff taped up Young’s ankle, which already had a protective brace on it before the injury. He returned the game with 8:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, but wasn’t his usual explosive self.
Young only scored three of his 35 points on 1-for-4 shooting after the injury, which he later described as “just a freaky bad accident.”
He appeared to be in pain throughout the rest his time on the floor and acknowledged the latter after the Game 3 loss — specifically noting a pass to Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic.
“Really just my blow-by speed,” Young said about how the injury affected his game. “I mean, that’s a big part of my game, is my ability just to blow by anybody. And when you’re on the left side and you’re trying to blow by, you got to use your right foot.”
Young also joked that he’ll have “eyes in the back of his head” moving forward to avoid repeating the same injury involving referees.
After Game 3, Hawks head coach Nate McMillan admitted Young was “sore” when he checked back into the game following the ankle sprain.
“When he came back to the bench, I was told that he was available,” McMillan said. “Once he got out there, and I saw he wasn’t moving well, when I took him out for the last few seconds, he couldn’t go back. I was basically looking to rotate him offense/defense, and he just couldn’t go back.”
Young was on an offensive roll before the injury, racking up 14 points in the first quarter alone. He recorded his first 32 points on 11-for-19 shooting and went 5-for-11 from 3-point range.
Game 3 was night and day for Young, compared to Game 2, when the Bucks ran away with a 125-91 blowout win. Young scored just 15 points on 6-for-16 shooting, paired with nine turnovers.
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