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Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, left, dunks ahead of Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard during the first half of an NBA preseason game on Oct. 14, 2019, in Miami.

The Associated Press

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins was suspended for 25 games without pay on Tuesday for a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program after testing positive for a growth hormone.

The NBA announced that Collins, 22, tested positive for peptide-2. He is Atlanta’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer.

Collins apologized in a statement, saying he was “incredibly frustrated and disappointed in myself for putting all of us in this position,” but that he planned to appeal the suspension.

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“I have always been incredibly careful about what I put in my body, but I took a supplement which, unbeknownst to me, had been contaminated with an illegal component,” he said. “I plan to fight my suspension in arbitration so I can get back on the court as soon as possible and continue to contribute to our 2019-20 campaign.”

Collins is the third player to be handed 25-game suspensions for drug violations this season.

The NBA announced on Oct. 24 that Phoenix Suns centre Deandre Ayton was suspended after testing positive for a diuretic. On Aug. 29, the league suspended Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler for testing positive for Ipamorelin, a drug that increases the release of growth hormone.

The suspensions of Ayton and Chandler also are without pay.

Collins’s suspension begins with Tuesday night’s game against San Antonio.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said the team was “disappointed to learn that John put himself in an unfortunate situation and violated the league’s anti-drug policy.”

“We hold ourselves and each of our players to a high standard, and we are committed to supporting John as he learns from this setback and continues to grow as both a player and a person,” Schlenk said in a statement.

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Schlenk said he and coach Lloyd Pierce spoke with Collins “and we believe that he is truly remorseful for his actions. We will provide John with support on and off the court while we look forward to his return to the team.”

Collins, a 6-foot-9 forward, is averaging 17 points and 8.8 rebounds a game in his third NBA season.

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