Justin Anderson is back ahead of schedule.
That doesn’t mean the Hawks guard/forward has waited patiently during his return following surgery for tibial stress syndrome in his left leg performed in June.
“He was ahead of schedule for a while now,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said Monday. December 1st was the initial target in terms of post-surgery (return). His doctor in Indiana gave him the go ahead with a minutes restriction. We’ll see what happens.”
And has he been chomping at the bit?
“For about two months now,” Pierce said.
Anderson, who the Hawks acquired from the 76ers as part of a three-team trade during the offseason, will play in Monday’s game against the Clippers. He will be on a restriction of about 12 minutes.
Anderson, who celebrated his 25th birthday Monday with the clearance to play, said when he and his agent decided to undergo the surgery he turned to Paul George for guidance.
Well, kind of.
George suffered a gruesome broken leg while playing in a U.S. National Team scrimmage in August, 2014.
“The first thing I did was watched Paul George and how he got hurt,” Anderson said. “I watched what he did in his recovery on YouTube. I watched a lot of YouTube. YouTube has become my best friend through all of this. One thing that I took from him is you are going to have good days and you are going to have bad days. You have to take the good with the good. You have to take the bad with the bad. Eventually, more good days are going to add up over bad.”
Anderson was finally cleared to play after X-rays, blood work and symptom monitoring after he returned to full practice.
Anderson, who played for Pierce in Philadelphia, knows the system of the new Hawks coach and his prepared to be his “Swiss army knife” on defense by guarding multiple positions.
Anderson also doesn’t see himself as the missing piece of a young, struggling Hawks team.
“I’m not here to make some heroic comeback,” Anderson said. “For me personally, it’s heroic. I’m not here to do anything bigger than my job.”
Collins returns: John Collins won’t start but will be on a restriction of about 18 minutes Monday, his second game back after he missed the first 15 games of the season with left ankle soreness.
Collins said he is still working his way into game shape. He scored 12 points in 12 minutes in his debut Saturday at the Pacers. It didn’t take much time at all to get back in sync with teammates.
“I feel like it didn’t take any time at all,” Collins said. “I feel like when I got back on the court with the guys in Indiana, the guys were finding me and wanted to play with me.”
Collins played all 12 minutes in the first half. That was the plan, according to Pierce, to regulated his minutes. Although, Pierce did have to call for a foul to pull Collins from the game in the second quarter as his time had elapsed.
“Trying to get in rhythm,” Pierce said of the plan. “He had a 10-12 minute restriction. I don’t know how you spread that over four quarters.”
Adams back: The Hawks transferred Jaylen Adams from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League on Monday. Adams is on a two-way contract. In seven games with the BayHawks, all starts, the guard averaged 18.4 points, 3.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 31.4 minutes.
Pierce said the Adams transfer was based on the fact that Erie would be idle this week. It also is an opportunity for Adams to get caught up with new plays and terminology installed after he left.
“It’s a free opportunity to get him around these guys,” Pierce said. “This is a big player development week with us being home. Instead of having a week off, it’s an opportunity to come here.”
With the return of Collins, it is likely that Alex Poythress, who is out with a left ankle contusion, will be sent to Erie following the week. He is also on a two-way contract but has been with the Hawks with Collins out. A two-way player can spend up to 45 days in the NBA.