Collins was originally hoping to return in March and he…

Collins was originally hoping to return in March and he’s pushed himself through rehabilitation sessions and individual basketball workouts throughout the coronavirus crisis, so the news was not surprising. But for it to finally become official was momentous. “When my doc came in and said my shoulder feels like a normal shoulder, that I was good to go, it was like a weight was lifted,” Collins said. “I tell people all the time that he whole rehab process isn’t difficult. It’s just very long and boring. The worst part is not being on the road with the team, not being around them every day, feeling disconnected. It’s weird. Odd. So, mentally, it’s a big struggle. I’m just super excited to be back and know that I can do everything again.”
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April 18, 2021 | 8:02 pm EDT Update
Late in each Charlotte Hornets season, coach James Borrego opens up the rotation to see what a second-round rookie has got. Three seasons ago, it was Devonte Graham. Last March, it was Jalen McDaniels. Friday, it was emphatically Vernon Carey Jr. “Based on what I saw tonight, I’ve got to look very hard at Vernon” the rest of the season, Borrego said, after Carey’s NBA debut as a starter.
Carey was stunningly good with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, plus six rebounds. The Hornets selected former the former Duke center early in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft, and prior to Friday he had amassed all of 33 minutes. He played 35 minutes in the 130-115 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, and totally looked like he belonged. Carey learned Friday morning that he was starting, even though the decision had been made the night before. Borrego didn’t want Carey fretting all night instead of sleeping.
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