With 9.7 points and 6.3 rebounds on average in 25 minutes, John Collins is obviously far from his best level since the start of the series against the Heat. But how to be when you are weighed down by an injury to the right ring finger and a tear in the plantar fascia?
The interior of the Hawks does the maximum and limits the damage with its 51% success in shooting, even if it sometimes misses easy shots for him. In Game 2, he missed an alley-oop where he didn’t dunk, opting for an ultimately missed layup.
“I ruminate on this style of action”he tells The Athletic. “After Game 2, at home, I was on my phone, and I was shouting at myself. I had flashbacks of this action. Usually I never miss it. It’s my game, my business. It irritates me, but I also know that I am limited. There are things I can’t do, although I usually do them very well. It is a permanent struggle. »
“Sometimes, to reach the heights, you have to play despite the injury”
Suffering from the right ring finger is a serious handicap for John Collins, who must adapt his game, in attack as in defense, to limit the pain.
“I’m supposed to have a brace on at all times and keep my hand as straight as possible. This is a problem for me: how am I supposed to play basketball with a finger that has to stay straight? I can not. If it had been my left hand, it would have been no problem. Last season, it was, and I didn’t say anything, because I could do with it. There, it is the hand with which I shoot and I take rebounds. It changes my way of thinking: I have to be more careful. Hanging on to the hoop or dunking, it becomes a hassle. I can’t really do it. I have less touch also, at the level of my shots. It’s hard to adjust, but I try to find a way to do it. »
To motivate himself, he thinks of Kobe Bryant. The former Lakers fullback has often played with injuries, especially during the 2010 playoffs when he faced Boston in the Finals with a “strapping” in his right hand.
“He’s my favorite player and I always wanted to be a great player like him. Sometimes, to reach the heights, you have to play despite the injury, which he did. This is where I am. I always want to do the best for my team. »