Suffering injuries, especially in the same timeframe, often makes a bond between teammates even stronger.
We saw that with Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic last season.
But this season, Collins was away from the team for over a month following the second surgery on his left ankle. And because of that, he has leaned on a former teammate and friend, in addition to his current ones.
That former teammate knows a thing or two about dealing with injuries.
Collins and Meyers Leonard, who is with the Miami Heat, have kept in touch through text.
And now that Leonard is set to rehab his left shoulder after having season-ending surgery on it Tuesday, the two can share rehab stories and more.
Leonard suffered the left shoulder strain on Jan. 9 in the Heat’s win over the Washington Wizards. He has been sidelined ever since.
The former Blazer severely sprained his left ankle last February before the NBA season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but he was able to resume play during the NBA’s restart, just like Collins did following his shoulder surgery last season.
After Collins first suffered his stress fracture on his left ankle in the Orlando Bubble the two got together for dinner.
“When the thing in the bubble happened I was able to actually go to dinner with him… Just talked to him a little bit,” Collins said.
The two have always been there for each other, especially during hard times.
This is the same shoulder Meyers underwent surgery for during the Trail Blazers 2016 season when he had a torn labrum repaired.
But Collins isn’t worried about Leonard.
Collins added, “I know he’ll bounce back… He’s always a very positive guy and he’s mentally always going to try to be better and to be locked in.”
With Collins out indefinitely, he knows he’ll continue to lean on Leonard for support.
He’s appreciative of his old teammate.
And just as Collins spoke highly of Leonard, he also shared his excitement to reunite with his teammates this weekend now that he’s back in Portland. As soon as the Blazers return from their six-game road trip and Collins is cleared from the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, Collins will get his wish of being back around his current teammates.
When Portland faced the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night, the Blazers were without Damian Lillard (abdominal strain), Derrick Jones Jr. (left foot sprain), Nassir Little (left knee sprain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Collins (left ankle stress fracture).
The Blazers could sure use some glass half full mentality right about now.