UPDATE: The Hawks announced prior to tip-off that Collins is available to play against the Warriors.
The Atlanta Hawks have been without rookie big man John Collins for the last two games, after the former No. 19 overall pick suffered a left ankle sprain during a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. However, his absence could be coming to an end on Friday evening against the Golden State Warriors, as the Hawks have officially upgraded Collins to questionable.
With Dennis Schroder also set to return after a one-game absence, the Hawks could be at closer to full strength against the reigning champs and, on the other side, the Warriors will have Stephen Curry back in the lineup after a six-game absence of his own. Atlanta is still seen as a significant underdog on the road in Oakland but, at any rate, the potential return of Colllins could provide further incentive to closely monitor the proceedings.
Collins, in 64 games this season, is averaging 10.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest (in 23.2 minutes) and he has been the team’s most efficient player on a per-minute basis. Furthermore, it could easily be argued that the 20-year-old is Atlanta’s best on-roster asset for the future and the fact that he is nearing return to game action (even if not on Friday) is certainly a good thing through that lens.
Elsewhere on the injury report, status quo emerges. Kent Bazemore Malcolm Delaney, DeAndre’ Bembry, Jaylen Morris and Antonius Cleveland will continue to be sidelined and only Schroder’s return (and Collins’ upgrade) serve as changes.
For many players, the stretch run in something of a lost season (at least in the standings) can seem like a fruitless exercise but, with Collins and some of Atlanta’s other young pieces, there is plenty to be gleaned from evaluating these final games. Health is quite important for Collins but, if he is ready to roll in this spot, his return would certainly a welcome sign.