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John Collins sidelined to begin West Coast trip

The Hawks will be without the rookie big man on Tuesday, though there is hope for the near future.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks will face a five-game trip through the Western Conference beginning on Tuesday evening and, at the outset, rookie big man John Collins will not be available to play. After exiting Saturday’s road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks with a left ankle injury, Collins was ruled out on Monday for the first game in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.

It should be noted that the 20-year-old is on the trip, indicating some optimism for the near future. Still, the already short-handed Hawks will be without their most dangerous offensive big man for Tuesday’s game and, given that the Jazz sport the league’s hottest defense and an elite rim protector in Rudy Gobert, an uphill battle awaits.

Collins’ future health is, quite obviously, of high importance for the Hawks and, as a result, there is absolutely no reason to push the youngster back into action at anything less than full health. Still, there is some value to additional time on the floor this season from a development perspective and, because he is on the trip, optimism certainly exists that Collins could return to 100 percent before the Hawks return to Atlanta.

Following Tuesday’s clash against Utah, the Hawks face off with the Kings in Sacramento on Thursday and, in advance of tip-off, there will be plenty of attention paid to the injury status of the team’s best young prospect.