The boot is off!
Zach Collins, who has yet to play a game this season, is inching one step closer to getting back on the court.
The fourth-year big man has not played an NBA game since being hurt in the play-in game against Memphis last season in the NBA Bubble.
He had offseason surgery to repair a hairline medial malleolus stress fracture of his left ankle and was projected to return to the team in early 2021, but a setback in rehab led to a second surgery and a longer timeline to return to the court.
While there has been no timetable announced for Collins' return, he has been wearing a protective boot since late December. However, on Friday night at Moda Center, the Trail Blazers big was spotted without the boot on.
Over the past few weeks, Collins has been weaning off the boot at home, so not be wearing the boot sitting in the front row of the Blazers bench nothing but a great sign for Collins, an indication that rehab is going as planned.
Collins told NBC Sports Northwest Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson Friday night indicated that very notion. "Everything is healing like it should be," Collins said.
As good of a sign the absence of a boot may be, there is still no updated timeline for Collins' return.
Collins did have a following up with his surgeon in Indianapolis last week and there we no concerns raised about the healing process.
So, the Trail Blazers big remains cautiously optimistic.
Collins holds career averages of 5.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 0.9 assists, but has played in just 12 games since the start of last season.
The injuries have been tough, but things are trending in the right direction for Big Z.