It has been a long time since Zach Collins has hit the court for the Portland Trail Blazers.
184 days in fact.
It was on October 27, just three games into the new season, that Collins dislocated his shoulder while going up for a rebound against the Dallas Mavericks.
A week later, Collins underwent shoulder surgery and his chances of returning before the season ended were in question.
But hard work and constant rehab had Collins eyeing a possible return prior to playoffs, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus shut down the NBA season, and for weeks, players have not been able to use team facilities or practice with other players.
This has put Collins in a tough spot, as the one thing left on his list for rehab was full contact, basketball action.
In an interview for Trail Blazers Courtside, the Blazers' big man gave Rip City an update on his rehab.
I definitely think I am on the right track. Right now it's tough because the last part of my development was playing and we can't play right now. I'm just trying to simulate that as much as I can right now without going through contact with other players. It feels really good. Like I said before,.I haven't really had any setbacks in my rehab. From day one it's all been pretty smooth, it's just a long process. But it feels great. I'm really happy with where I'm at. - Zach Collins
By the sounds of it, Collins may have been closer to a return than we thought.
The NBA is currently eyeing dates to re-open team facilities, with May 8 being a possible target date. Should the current NBA season resume, there is a high likelihood Collins could return with it.
If the practice courts re-open, then Collins can get back to the grind and prepare his body and mind to hit the court, and hopefully continue to show the marked improvement that he showcased in just a handful of games prior to his injury.
Said Collins on what he improved upon heading into the season, "Playing on the block, playing one-on-one, improved a lot and I was really excited to see that."
"I was really just more excited to make plays. Not necessarily scoring, but just to be more effective in those pick and roll situations," Collins added. "Guys getting trapped and me catching the ball at the elbow and making a play. I think I got better at that over the summer and I excited to show that. Unfortunately, it was only two and a half games, but I felt more comfortable with that coming into this year."
Really, it was a lot of the little things that come with time on the court. Time he hopefully gets back in the near future.