Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford will undergo surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the rest of the season, according to reports from AP featured on NBA.com.
27-year-old Horford, a former Florida Gator who was selected by the Hawks with the third overall pick of the 2007 draft, sustained the painful injury during the thrilling double overtime win against the Cleveland Cavaliers last Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The two-time All-Star, whose current deal with the Hawks lasts until the end of the 2015/16 season, reportedly explored all available options before eventually deciding to go under the knife.
Garin Narain, a spokesman for the Hawks franchise, confirmed on Monday night that Horford will not return to action in the likely event that Atlanta advance to the playoffs following the culmination of the regular season.
Following Sunday night's 109-102 loss to Arron Afflalo and the Orlando Magic, the Hawks currently occupy third spot in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 17-14.
As one of only three teams across the East with a winning record, the Hawks are likely to make an appearance in the post-season for the seventh consecutive year.
However, their slim chances of dethroning the Miami Heat are likely to have diminished entirely in the absence of Horford.
Hawks fans based this side of the Atlantic are sure to be doubly disappointed by such news, with Horford - the face of the Atlanta franchise - now set to miss their eagerly-anticipated game against the Brooklyn Nets at London's 02 Arena in January.