Let’s just hope this doesn’t become a repeat of last season for the Atlanta Hawks. Off to a 12-10 start that is decent enough to have them sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference, their opening quarter or so of the season has not been without trials and tribulations along the way from instant success to humbling defeat.
It has also been marred by injury from the outset, much as last season did.
They have been without Bogdan Bogdanovic from the beginning as he recovers from offseason knee surgery.
Things got even more complicated for them despite a convincing 125-108 win over the Orlando Magic in their last outing. That victory came at a steep cost as John Collins and De’Andre Hunter both went down with injuries that required MRIs.
John Collins, De’Andre Hunter expected to miss time for Atlanta Hawks
Hunter came into the evening nursing a sore hip flexor. He aggravated the injury with just under five minutes to go in the opening frame and did not return. Hunter ended his night with two points in just seven minutes but the worst part is that his injury has worsened, or at least the terminology has, with the Hawks announcing Hunter is out for at least a week to recover.
Coming into the night, Hunter was averaging a career-high 15.6 points on 54.9% true shooting with 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.
Injuries have plagued the 6-foot-8 forward over the last couple of seasons.
The Hawks signed Hunter to a four-year, $90 million this past offseason. In his fourth year out of the University of Virginia, he has developed from being viewed mostly as a 3-&-D prospect to showing an ability to go get his own shot as well.
Collins’ MRI confirmed a sprained ankle for the 6-foot-9 high-flyer who injured himself trying to catch a lob from Trae Young as the clock hit triple zeros in the first half and will be out for at least two weeks before being reevaluated.
Like Hunter, Collins recently got new money.
He signed a five-year, $125 million contract last summer but has seen his name floated in countless trade rumors, a situation exacerbated by the Hawks’ uneven start.
Unlike Hunter, Collins’ season has not been up to his lofty standards as a player with a 20-point, 10-rebound season under his belt. His career-worst numbers have come with a matching usage rate despite the Hawks boasting two of the most dynamic playmakers in Young and offseason addition Dejounte Murray.
What he has done is continue to buy in and was putting forth more consistent defensive effort.
Collins sports the second-best defensive rating on the team at minus-3.0 ranking in the 68th percentile, one spot ahead of Hunter (minus-1.7, 60th percentile), per Cleaning The Glass.
These are undoubtedly big losses but, fortunately, neither is in a worst-case scenario. Hopefully, they will both get back on the shorter end of their timelines – assuming full health, of course. But the Hawks are expecting to get Bogdanovic back which will help some in the short term.