2011 NBA Playoffs: Are The Chicago Bulls On A Collision Course With Darren Collison?

It would seem that way. Although, as of this writing, Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison remains a game-time decision as to whether he'll return to the court against the Chicago Bulls tonight, he's ready to play. Collison told Indystar.com today, "This is the playoffs. I'm going to do whatever it takes to be out there. If I don't play, I'll be shocked."

The 23-year-old, second-year player suffered a sprained ankle in Game Two of the 2011 NBA Playoffs when he got tripped up on the foot of a photographer just across the baseline. Collison was picked in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets. He played in 76 games for the Hornets last season but was shepherded to Indiana in August as part of a massive four-team deal in August involving various and sundry characters such as James Posey and Courtney Lee.

Up until the Game Two injury, Collison was having a good 2010-11. He piled up 403 assists (best on the team, 27th overall in the NBA) and 1,039 points (second on the team) during the regular season. Defensively, Collison's great speed can be highly troublesome for opposing shooters. Although no one appears to be able to stop Derrick Rose, the now-hobbled Pacers point guard was at least slowing him down.

If Collison can't play tonight, A.J. Price will start in his place. That should be advantage Bulls, as Price is far less explosive than Collison and started zero games during the regular season. And even if Collison talks his way into the lineup, one would have to think he'll bring less speed to the court and, by his own admission, have to "pick [his] spots."

The Pacers point guard's injury has spurred discussion that perhaps the NBA should move back the Roman legion of photographers who camp out courtside during games. Even Joakim Noah, whose team stands to potentially benefit from Collison's injury, spoke out against the proximity of the photogs. "With all the rules that the NBA has," Noah said, "I think that's something they could do a little better, putting the cameras back a little bit."

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