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Hawks’ John Collins forced to leave game vs. Celtics with back contusion


Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins’ night against Boston Celtics was cut short on Friday, as he had to prematurely leave the game due to a back contusion.

The high-flying 23-year-old sustained the injury midway through the third quarter of their road game at the TD Garden, when he landed hard on his back after contesting Jayson Tatum’s dunk attempt. Collins writhed in pain and held his lower back before being assisted out of the playing court.

The Hawks later confirmed that he will not return and is done for the night. Collins had 16 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes of action before leaving the match.

Coming off an impressive rookie year two seasons ago with the Hawks, big things were expected out of the Wake Forest alum as he formed a formidable one-two punch with Trae Young. But the pair have barely shared the court at the beginning of the season due to injuries and lengthy 25-game suspension handed by the league to John Collins after he violated the NBA’s anti-drug policy.

Entering Friday’s match-up against the C’s, Collins is averaging 18.3 points (2nd in the team behind Young), 9.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals over nine games.

The Hawks, meanwhile, still hold the worst record in the league at 7-27 after managing to snap their 10-game slide last Wednesday with a101-93 win over the Orlando Magic.

The team has been decimated by injuries form the get-go with key players Young, Jabari Parker, Kevin Huerter all missing time due to injuries. It remains uncertain if Collins will be sidelined for a considerable time, but his possible absence will indeed be another blow for the floundering franchise.