THEY'RE known for being mischievous but there are times when the basketball gods can be downright malicious.
It's something rookie coach Matt Flinn has learned the hard way this season, with Saturday's clash with Melbourne United another tough lesson.
Having endured a horror run on the injury front, the Hawks were dealt an ironic blow prior to tip-off with veteran Dave Andersen against succumbing to injury - to his other knee.
The 39-year-old missed two months with cartilage issues in his left knee, but returned in last week's aborted clash with New Zealand in Wollongong.
He traveled to Melbourne on Friday only to suffer swelling in his right knee, keeping him out of Saturday's clash with his former club.
The three-time Olympian hasn't decided if the current season will be his last, but it would be a disappointing end to a storied career if he can't finish it on the court against Sydney on Friday.
"We're hopeful, we're really hopeful of getting him back [for Sydney]," Flinn said.
"We gave him every opportunity again and it was actually his other knee. He got through a few hard sessions during the week and we were really confident with him.
"Then [on Friday] the other knee didn't pull up too well at all. He's been getting treatment around the clock, he hasn't put the cue in the rack or anything like that.
"He was really disappointed that he couldn't back [on Saturday]."
Flinn has already lost Aaron Brooks (achilles) and LaMelo Ball (foot) to season-ending injuries this season, while Sam Froling (ankle) was also placed on the long-term injury list.
AJ Ogilvy and Josh Boone have endured stints in the injury ward, while the Hawks were also without point guard Emmett Naar, who's been carrying a pec and shoulder problem for the last three weeks, on Saturday.
"Emmett's been struggling with a pec injury that's been ongoing now since Australia Day," Flinn said.
"He had some time off then we go him back, we actually needled him last game to play and it just has not pulled up well at all. We're really hopeful we can get him back for the last game."
The Hawks slipped to 5-22 with the 23-point loss to United. Flinn admitted his side struggled to score, but he was left most disappointed with its defensive effort.
"Against a team like Melbourne, when you turn the ball over and they score 19 points off turnovers, it's going to feed their transition," Flinn said.
"It got out to 12-14 at halftime but I felt we were in the game but they got a lot of clean looks out of transition and that's when the floodgates opened a little bit.
"Obviously sometimes you're not going to make shots but our level of execution defensively, particularly in transition, I didn't think was there tonight.
"We were up against a really hungry team who need to win three in a row so we knew what sort of fortress we were walking into. I guess they showed their class tonight."