Hawks’ Prince ‘a ways away’ from return

Taurean Prince  of the Atlanta Hawks reacts against the Golden State Warriors at State Farm Arena on December 3, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Taurean Prince of the Atlanta Hawks reacts against the Golden State Warriors at State Farm Arena on December 3, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Taurean Prince is unlikely to return until January, according the Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce.

The starting small forward has missed the past eight games with a left ankle sprain. He also has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers. Prince was scheduled to be re-evaluated three weeks following his injury, suffered Dec. 3 against the Warriors. He has just returned to the court for light shooting.

“He is still a ways away,” Pierce said Wednesday. “He hasn’t done any low-impact activity. I think we’ll be looking at him after New Year. That’s the safest bet.”

The Hawks have two road games next week, at the Wizards on Jan. 2 and at the Bulls on Jan. 4.

The Hawks are likely to get starting power forward John Collins back against the Pacers. He missed Sunday’s win over the Pistons with a left ankle sprain. He is listed as questionable, but went through all of shootaround Wednesday.

“I think he’ll be good to go,” Pierce said. “He went through all of shootaround, which was 45 minutes and he’s still getting some work. With two days off (for the holiday), he was in Florida, there wasn’t much for us to see, so it was important for us to see him.”

Collins is a welcome return as he’s had a double-double in eight of the past nine games.

The Hawks also are likely to get rookie forward Omari Spellman back Wednesday. He has missed the past eight games with right hip soreness. He is listed as probable after getting his first 5-on-5 court work Wednesday. Pierce said Spellman has been unable to get the final step to the final step of his return because the team was on the road and didn’t have enough players for a 5-on-5 scrimmage.

In other injury news:

*The Hawks are listing center Dewayne Dedmon (left shin contusion) and guard Jeremy Lin (low back pain) as probable against the Pacers.

*Center Alex Len (back strain) is listed as doubtful after he played 35 minutes against the Pistons. Pierce called the injury “concerning” and said he expected it to be an ongoing issue to deal with when Len plays significant minutes.

*Center Miles Plumlee (left knee pain) remains out although he has returned to some light court activity. Pierce said Plumlee is not close to a return.