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Hawks’ John Collins will start with no restrictions when he returns from suspension

John Collins, Hawks

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins is expected to return to his starting power forward spot and see no minutes restriction after returning from a 25-game ban due to the use of banned substances, according to Brad Rowland of 92.9 The Game.

The Hawks suffered a massive blow once Collins was suspended by the league, as he was one of the two foundation pieces of the roster along with second-year point guard Trae Young.

The Wake Forest star averaged 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds through five games before his suspension, now bound to return to the court next week against the Cleveland Cavaliers, once he’s served the last two games of his ban.

Head coach Lloyd Pierce is reportedly hanging by the skin of his teeth, and a large part of why is the development of Collins, who the Hawks front office views as a pillar of their success.

Young has been shouldering the load thus far, but after starting the season 6-22, the Hawks will need to see some improvement if Pierce is to hold onto his job — making Collins’ success all the more important to the cause.

Upon his return, the Hawks will have a slate of winnable games, facing the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, and the Orlando Magic, while also running into an East-leading Milwaukee Bucks. Salvaging a few wins and snapping out their current five-game skid should help Pierce’s situation, though Collins should be plenty motivated to mend his wrongs after letting down his team with this unforeseen suspension.