Hawks’ Jalen Johnson (Ankle) to Return Tonight Against Bulls

Atlanta Hawks forward Jalen Johnson (sprained right ankle) will return tonight at the Chicago Bulls, according to sources. Johnson, 22, has been out since March 18 after suffering an ankle sprain against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The third-year wing rolled his ankle while landing with 6:47 to play in the fourth quarter. Johnson, who returned just two games prior from a right ankle sprain, was able to leave the court under his own power.

Per a few NBA betting sites, the Hawks hold eighth-shortest odds to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Philadelphia 76ers and Bulls.

Johnson previously missed three straight games last month because of the same injury. In the three games he played since his initial injury, he averaged 23 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while shooting 42% from the floor.

Through 51 games (48 starts) this season, he has averaged career highs of 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and 34 minutes per game. He is also shooting 51.3% from the field and career bests of 35.3% from 3-point range 72.5% at the free throw line.

Atlanta Hawks’ Jalen Johnson (sprained right ankle) is probable vs. No. 9-seeded Chicago Bulls

Johnson’s player efficiency rating (16.1) and value over replacement player (1.3) are career highs this season. He currently ranks 19th in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage (24.4%) as well.

In Atlanta’s 141-138 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 3, the Wisconsin native recorded a career-high 28 points, seven boards, three assists, and four steals in 28 minutes of action.

Other Hawks listed on the injury report include Trae Young (finger), AJ Griffin (ankle), and Kobe Bufkin (toe). All three players remain out indefinitely. Plus, Onyeka Okongwu (toe) and Mouhamed Gueye (elbow) were downgraded to out for tonight’s matchup.

Atlanta is 4-1 in its last five games and 1-4 in its past five meetings with the Bulls. The Hawks are also 1-6 in their previous seven matchups with a Central Division opponent.

The Hawks are 20-27 in Eastern Conference play, whereas the Bulls are 19-25. Atlanta is fourth in the Eastern Conference, scoring 119.2 points per game while shooting 46.6%.

Furthermore, the Hawks (34-40) trail the Bulls (36-39) by 1 1/2 games for the ninth spot in the East standings. Atlanta has a 5 1/2-game lead on the No. 11 Brooklyn Nets (29-46).

NBA sportsbooks show the Hawks as 2-point underdogs at Chicago tonight. Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Bulls hold a 56.8% chance of defeating Atlanta.

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