John Collins Out At Least Two Weeks; Nets Have Shown Interest

Hawks power forward John Collins will be out at least two weeks due to the left ankle sprain that he suffered during Wednesday’s victory over Orlando, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

Atlanta confirmed Collins’ two-week timeline, tweeting that his MRI also revealed joint swelling. His return to play will be updated as appropriate, per the Hawks.

The 25-year-old has dealt with a number of injuries throughout his career — he appeared in 293 of 385 (76.1%) regular season games during his first five seasons, which amounts to an average of 62.4 games over an 82-game schedule — but he had yet to miss a game in 2022/23. The Hawks play seven times over the next two weeks, so he’ll be sidelined for at least those seven games.

Collins has been the subject of trade rumors for a few years, and this season is no different — Ian Begley of reported on Thursday (Twitter video link) that the Nets have “touched base” on the veteran big man, though he wasn’t sure how serious the discussions were. The Jazz reportedly inquired on Collins as well — rumors about Phoenix’s potential interest were disputed by multiple reporters.

Collins is having a down season by his standards — through 22 games (31.5 MPG), he’s averaging 12.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.4 BPG on .484/.219/.845 shooting. For context, his career marks are 16.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 1.1 BPG on .555/.362/.783 shooting.

The Hawks also announced (via Twitter) that fellow starting forward De’Andre Hunter — who aggravated his own injury Wednesday night — will miss at least one week with a right hip flexor strain. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis. If he’s sufficiently healed by next Friday, Hunter will miss three games with the injury, though that’s a best-case scenario.

Hunter, who signed a four-year, $90MM rookie scale extension prior to the season, is averaging 14.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .447/.354/.808 shooting through 21 games (30.9 MPG) for the 12-10 Hawks.

With Collins and Hunter sidelined, the Hawks will likely lean more on rookie wing AJ Griffin and second-year forward Jalen Johnson. Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s potential return should definitely help as well — he’s listed as questionable to make his season debut on Friday against the Nuggets, per Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

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