Positive news can only last so long in the Atlanta sports community. Just a day after learning Trae Young is likely to return from his short-lived ankle injury tonight against the Spurs; the NBA announced they are suspending John Collins 25 games for PED use. According to Chris Vivlamore of The AJC, Collins tested positive for a Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (GHRP-2).
John Collins tested positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (GHRP-2), it was announced today by the NBA.
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) November 5, 2019
Collins later announced he will be appealing the suspension. Here is what he had to say in an official statement:
“First I want to apologize to my teammates, the Hawks organization, our fans, partners and community as a whole for this situation. I understand the impact this matter has on what we are trying to achieve together this season, and I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed in myself for putting all of us in this position. I have always been incredibly careful about what I put in my body, but I took a supplement which, unbeknownst to me, had been contaminated with an illegal component. I plan to fight my suspension in arbitration so I can get back on the court as soon as possible and continue to contribute to our 2019-20 campaign.”
For now, however, the Hawks will have to continue their season without their second-best player. If there is a glass half full way of looking at it, Jabari Parker has been a tremendous addition and should be able to fill in for Collins. But still, the depth Atlanta loses, combined with the drop off from Collins to Parker, is going to be tough to recover from. For a team that was hoping to end their two-year playoff drought, this is a gut-punch so early in the season. Hopefully, the appeal will go Collins’ way, and the suspension will be uplifted.