If the Hawks are to emerge from a crowded early field in the Eastern Conference, they may have to do it without the services of both their starting forwards.
John Collins is expected to miss at least two weeks due to a left ankle sprain and swelling suffered during Atlanta’s 125-109 Wednesday win at Orlando, the team announced Thursday. Collins played just 16 minutes in the contest before exiting for good.
The 25-year-old forward, who has been the subject of recent trade rumors, is averaging 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 21.9% from deep, some of the lowest marks of his five-year career since being drafted No. 19 overall in 2017.
Atlanta also announced forward De’Andre Hunter would miss at least one week with a right hip flexor strain, also suffered during Wednesday’s game. Hunter is averaging 14.9 points and shooting 44.7% from the field.
The Hawks, who were eliminated in the first round by Miami last season, had gone all in on taking a step forward this year after acquiring All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from San Antonio. Atlanta, however, had lost five of its previous seven games before Wednesday’s victory over the Magic. The Hawks (12-10) find themselves tied for fifth place, just ahead of a slew of other teams.