John Collins injury update: Hawks forward leaves game vs. Suns after suffering sprained ankle

The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, 117-110, in a pretty fun and competitive matchup. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t the only thing they lost. Big man John Collins was ruled out after suffering a sprained ankle during the first half and could be headed for a spell on the sidelines.

Early in the second quarter, Collins went up to try and block Deandre Ayton’s shot. When he came down, he landed on Clint Capela’s foot, and badly twisted his left ankle. You can watch the video below, but fair warning that it’s not the most pleasant sight. 

He was actually able to stay in the game, and bravely attempted to play through the pain. But after further examination during halftime, he was held out and did not return for the second half. At this point, it’s unclear how severe the sprain is, and Hawks coach Nate McMillan offered little insight postgame. 

McMillan’s full comments:

He stepped on someone’s foot in the first half. He tried to play through it, he actually played about four or five minutes on that. It’s pretty sore, I saw him grimacing out there, so we got a sub for him. And I was told during half time that he wasn’t able to come back. 

Again, it’s too early to say how long Collins might be out, but the video does not look good. If he is facing an extended recovery time, that would be a huge blow for a Hawks team that’s already going through a tough stretch. After winning eight games in a row earlier this month, the Hawks have now lost four out of five to fall back under .500 on the season at 23-24. 

That has them in a tie for sixth place in the jumbled Eastern Conference standings with both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. With just 4.5 games separating fourth and 10th in the East right now, there’s a real chance for a surprise team like the Hawks to sneak in and earn a playoff spot outright without having to deal with the play-in game. 

At the same time, the congested standings mean there’s a real chance a poor run of form could leave you fighting just to stay in that play-in game. That’s what the Hawks are trying to avoid right now, but it won’t be easy if they have to continue this road trip — games against the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans remain — without Collins. 

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