Charlotte Hornets vs. Atlanta Hawks: Gordon Hayward and John Collins the Biggest Injury Concerns

Sports Injury Central
Apr 10, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles the ball as Houston
Apr 10, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles the ball as Houston / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Doc is the FanDuel Official Injury Expert - Check out his home at Sports Injury Central (SIC) where his team analyzes all of the injury news from the NBA, MLB, NFL and more to assist you with your betting and fantasy sports plays.

The third annual NBA Play-In tournament is underway with the Nets and Clippers/Timberwolves locking up the #7 seeds. Teams seeded #7 through #10 qualify for the tournament and the outcome will determine the final two teams to make the playoffs in the conference. Meeting in the 9-10 matchup is Southeast division mates Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks.

Hornets SIC Health Score - 85.9

The Michael Jordan-owned franchise will head into the play-in tournament in the midst of a hot and cold season, something Katy Perry could enjoy but for Hornets fans, pulmonary embolisms have been frequent.

Although six games clear of the 11th place New York Knicks, the Hornets needed to sustain a relatively healthy starting lineup and a top 5 offense just to secure a spot in the play-in tournament.

A key Hornets component not available for the tournament is 11-year vet Gordon Hayward. The Butler alum has played 52+ games just twice in the last five years including a mere 49 games this season due to an ankle injury suffered on Feb 7th. He was on the way back recently but experienced discomfort in foot requiring a cast and will now sit out before being re-evaluated in two weeks.

The Hornets will miss their star on both ends of the court but can at least find offense in his replacement. Eccentric F Kelly Oubre (FD $4,500) will draw the start and although his defense is lacking, averaged 15 points per game this season.

A model of health and consistency while being in the running for NBA’s most improved player is SF Miles Bridges (FD $6,900). Tied for 10th in the NBA in games played this season, Bridges was one of just 13 players to miss two games or less.

In a year where no All-Star played a full season, Bridges showed the value of suiting up on a consistent basis leading his team in  points (20.2) and rebounds (7).

Hawks SIC Health Score - 83.4

After falling just short of the NBA finals last season, the Hawks followed up with a slightly disappointing 2021-2022 regular season registering just two wins more than last season with virtually the same roster. Superstar Trae Young (FD $10,100) played 76 games this year which was key to keeping the Hawks afloat but the absence of John Collins for majority of the season contributed to the down season.

Collins suffered two significant injuries this season which caused him to miss a combined 28 games, including the last 16 contests. The versatile PF has not suited up since March 11 after playing through a severely sprained right ring finger and what was later revealed to be a plantar fascia tear in his right foot. 

Starting in his place will be Danilo Gallinari (FD $5,300) who has had his own injury issues in the past and averaging the lowest points per game since his rookie season. However, the sharpshooter has embraced the starting role of late going over 25 points twice in the last three games.

Another starter playing through injury issues is starting small forward De’Andre Hunter (FD $4,300). The Virginia alum has had two separate surgeries on his right knee and continues to deal with soreness meaning the Hawks would be smart to manage the issue if they expect to go far in the playoffs.

Sixth man extraordinaire Lou Williams will miss the first play-in matchup due to a back issue. The sharpshooter is getting up there in years but can still shoot from well from longe range.

Both squads will be missing a key starter but the Collins absence hurts just a bit more as reflected in the SIC scores. This is a win or go home game for both meaning each team will scrap till the buzzer:

Best FanDuel Injury-Based Plays

Trae Young O47.5 Pts+Rebs+Ast - Without Williams to back him up, expect him to play basically the entire game, has been on a tear to close out the regular season 

Danilo Gallinari O14.5 Points - The former Nugget has eclipsed this prop in two of the last three games, will play decent minutes without Collins 

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