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Indiana Pacers' Darren Collison hoping to suit up vs. Atlanta Hawks

From NBA media reports

Like many of the teams bunched up in the No. 3-8 spots in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers are looking to get healthy and make some headway in the standings over the next few weeks.

As the Atlanta Hawks visit tonight (7 ET, NBA League Pass), the team’s depth chart and overall health should improve. Point guard Darren Collison has missed the last 11 games following knee surgery, but he is hoping to get back into the mix tonight. Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star reports Collison would likely be in a reserve role tonight before reclaiming his starting gig:

“I had a chance to get up and down with the guys the past few days,” said Collison. “A lot of hard work trying to get back in shape. I feel really good about (Friday).”

Collison was having his best all-around season when he left the lineup, averaging 12.8 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 49.5 percent from the field. If Collison returns Friday, he will come off the bench to backup Cory Joseph until coach Nate McMillan feels Collison is ready to start.

The Pacers have gone 7-4 over the past 11 games without Collison, but they have missed his floor leadership, quickness, and outside shot. Collison is one of the team’s best 3-point shooters (43.2 percent), his spot-up shooting is a reliable compliment to Victor Oladipo in the Pacers’ backcourt.

Collison has played through pain the entire season, making his consistency prior to surgery even more impressive.

“I’ve been feeling this pain for a little over a year, even going back to last season when I was with Sacramento,” said Collison. “I had a piece of cartilage lingering around the whole time. When I got the MRI, that’s what they said. I had to get surgery.”

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