A season that has seen the Hawks stand toe-to-toe with the Bulls and Heat, encouraging a fickle fan base, has just been ruined.

The Atlanta Hawks learned this afternoon that All-Star center Al Horford will likely miss three-to-four months of action after an MRI revealed a torn pectoral muscle in his left shoulder as a result of an injury he suffered with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game at Indiana.

Typically, this type of injury requires surgery, but Horford will get a second opinion and make a final decision at that time.

If Horford does have the surgery, the earliest he’d be able to return would be the end of the regular season in April, which means that even if Atlanta manages to make the playoffs, they would be unable to get their All-Star center up to speed for a first-round series.

“We are very disappointed for Al and our team and we wish him the best as he moves forward in the rehabilitation process,” said Hawks’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Sund.  “He has contributed greatly to our success since his arrival in Atlanta, and that’s evident by his selection to the NBA’s All-League team last season (third team pick).”

The two-time All-Star finished with five points and two rebounds before leaving Wednesday’s contest with Indiana. In 11 games, Horford posted 12.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks to go along with .553 FGs (eighth in the NBA).