X-rays negative, but Hawks’ Kent Bazemore out with sprained ankle

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Kent Bazemore has been a welcome surprise for the Atlanta Hawks. He stepped into DeMarre Carroll‘s slot in the starting rotation (Carroll bolted to Toronto this summer) and his raw offensive game suddenly showed more polish — he is working well off the ball, is a threat in transition, is scoring a dozen points a game and shooting 43 percent from three. His game came together, and the Hawks’ offense is 3.3 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

Which is why they are going to miss him.

Bazemore suffered a sprained ankle near the end of the Hawks’ loss Sunday to the Jazz and had to be helped back to the locker room. Monday the Hawks confirmed the diagnosis saying that X-rays were negative, but an MRI confirmed the sprain. There is no timetable for his return, but he is not with the team as it travels to Brooklyn to take on the Nets, and he likely misses more time after this.

It’s a blow to the Hawks who are already are without point guard Jeff Teague. This means the likely starting backcourt for the Hawks for the next few games is Dennis Schroder and Thabo Sefolosha.