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There are plenty of excuses for why the Atlanta Hawks regressed during the 2021-22 season. However, the main reason has to be health. Due to a Covid outbreak and ill-timed injuries, the team could never find their groove from the previous season.

Power forward John Collins missed the better part of March and April with dueling injuries but battled back for the Playoffs. The official diagnosis of the injuries was a boutonnière deformity on his right ring finger and a plantar fascia tear in his right foot.

Fans did not see much of Collins from the end of the season until late July. Over the past two weeks, Collins has played in two Pro-Am games. However, there was an immediate cause for concern when a picture of his swollen finger began circulating online.

While the Hawks have not provided any official updates on the health status of Collins, it is safe to assume he is cleared to play. Since Collins suffered the two injuries, he has worked closely with the team medical staff and consulted with medical specialists outside the organization.

Mixed messaging surrounding Collins' health plagued the Hawks throughout the spring. But fans of the high-flying forward should be able to take a sigh of relief, as there is no way Collins would be playing in sanctioned Pro-Am games if there was any risk at all of him worsening his injuries. Even better, Collins looks like his old self again.

Apr 22, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) fights for a rebound with Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) and center Bam Adebayo (13) during the second half during game three of the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs at State Farm Arena.

John Collins battles for a rebound against the Miami Heat.

Collins is only 24 years old and is on a fair contract for the next four seasons. Thanks to athleticism and blue-collar work ethic, he has become one of the most coveted players on the Hawks roster from opposing teams around the league.

The Hawks dodged a bullet by not having to include Collins in the trade with the San Antonio Spurs for Dejounte Murray. And they may have narrowly avoided two potentially catastrophic injuries to one of the pillars of their team. Stay locked into for breaking news, highlights, and analysis. 

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