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John Collins reportedly aiming for on-court return this week

This would be good news.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Update: The Hawks have upgraded Collins to questionable for Tuesday’s game in Cleveland.

The Atlanta Hawks have been without rookie big man John Collins for 10 days and, in short, his absence has been felt. However, the impressive youngster appears to be slightly ahead of schedule after an initial projected timeline of two-to-three weeks on the shelf.

Michael Cunningham of the AJC brings word that Collins could take the floor as early as Tuesday in Cleveland, with a potentially more realistic target of a home game against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday evening. Beyond that, it appears there is no pain in Collins’ shoulder at this time and he was seen warming up prior to Atlanta’s home game on Saturday evening against Orlando.

In Collins’ absence, the Hawks have leaned heavily on Ersan Ilyasova, Tyler Cavanaugh, Luke Babbitt and Miles Plumlee. In addition, Atlanta has been without starting center Dewayne Dedmon, who was injured prior to Collins, leaving Mike Budenholzer with very limited options in the frontcourt.

In some ways, the team has performed admirably without Collins available, especially when considering his offensive gravity and effectiveness on the glass. Still, it will be (very) nice to see the rookie back on the floor in short order and the Atlanta Hawks could receive that bump in the very near future.

Stay tuned.