Portland could use Zach Collins’ size, athleticism, and defense in the second unit, but his expected return next month is not going to happen.
Collins was seen at Trail Blazers home games in a walking boot, indicating he likely suffered a setback during training camp. That has now forced the Blazers big man to pursue surgery.
On Wednesday, the 7-footer underwent successful surgery, an operation that occurred in Indianapolis by Dr. David Porter.
It's a huge blow to Collins and the Trail Blazers as a whole.
As training camp got underway, the Gonzaga standout was pleased to announce that his left ankle rehabilitation was going well and he was on track for a mid to late Jan. return.
During the NBA restart in August, Collins left the Trail Blazers’ play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The injury that Collins suffered during that final seeding game was a hairline medial malleolus stress fracture of his left ankle.
The Blazers then announced Collins would have left ankle surgery and miss the remainder of the postseason.
But just as the rehab seemed to be going well at the start of the 2020-21 season, things changed.
As Collins began ramping up his workouts, the setback likely occurred.
It appears the earliest Collins could return after undergoing a surgery like this would be in the final weeks of the regular season or postseason, but the team and Collins will likely be very cautious.
The four-year forward/center has had a rough time with injuries over the past year, to say the least.
Prior to the 2019-2020 season, Collins suffered a left ankle injury in July 2019 that sidelined his offseason progress. Collins returned for preseason, but suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery just three games into the season. He returned for the bubble restart in Orlando and started every seeding game for Portland while averaging 6.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a night.
Collins appeared in 11 games (all starts) for the Trail Blazers last season, averaging 7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds.