Everywhere you looked, there were positive signs in regard to injured players. There was Zach Collins, going through on-court drills with a basketball — shooting short jumpers and even left-handed layups — as he recovers from a torn labrum. No full workout with the team yet, but on the court and even shooting with his (injured) left arm. At the other end of the court, there was CJ McCollum working out with coaches — running full speed as he shot and went through defensive drills — as he recovers from a sprained ankle.
Zach Collins didn’t know it at the time, but that October night in Dallas, when he bowed his head and nearly cried in an empty locker room, his life was beginning to change for the better. The Trail Blazers starting power forward had just learned that his dislocated left shoulder, suffered in the third quarter of the team’s third game, would keep him out weeks, if not months — and if that didn’t take hold of his Adam’s Apple, the next few days would. For the next six days, he would wrestle with MRI results, second opinions, third opinions, and decisions of whether to have surgery or just rehabilitate the shoulder. He ultimately opted for surgery to repair a torn labrum, and he is not expected back on the court until March at the earliest.
Somewhere between the haze of dashed dreams and the post-surgery pity parties, Collins was confronted by what many professional athletes encounter during a major injury: an identity crisis. During most of his 21 years, basketball was the most defining element of his life. It was what he was best at, how he was recognized, how he managed his stress, and how he viewed himself. And now, basketball was gone until the spring, leaving him with a harrowing question: Who was he? “What else do you have?” Collins remembers asking himself. “And I realized, I don’t have much.”
So often, athletes use their rehabilitation to focus only on their body, and getting the injured area healed. But for the 21-year-old Collins, he quickly identified that his rehabilitation would be of body and mind. “That’s not to say this whole time has been sunshine and rainbows,” Collins said. “I’ve definitely had pity parties, definitely played the victim, and definitely thought ‘This sucks.’ But then you get to a point where you are tired of being mad, or tired of being negative, and it’s like, ‘let me do something about it.'”
When the door opened for the media to enter the gym at the Trail Blazer practice facility Monday, there was a surprise spectator watching practice on a sideline bench. Zach Collins, fresh off his surgery last week to repair damage in his left labrum, was back.
“They said I could probably take (the sling) off when I’m home, hopefully next week,” Collins said. “But if I’m out in public, I still have to wear it. The worst part is when I sleep. I always sleep on my side and for some reason, at night all that pain comes back. The last couple of nights were a lot better. I’ve been almost pain free.”
Jason Quick: Blazers forward Zach Collins will have surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder, sources tell The Athletic.
Eddie Sefko: Portland's Zach Collins leaves the court with what looked to be a dislocated left shoulder after grappling for a rebound with Luka Doncic, who gave him a butt-tap on the way off the floor.
Portland Trail Blazers center-forward Zach Collins is recovering at his home in Las Vegas after sustaining a grade 2 sprain in his right ankle during a workout. Collins suffered the sprain and a torn ligament during a workout a couple of weeks ago.
He has been on crutches and in a walking boot but is expected to be ready to play by the opening of the team’s training camp. He is scheduled to return to Portland next week.
Joe Freeman: After practice, Collins slipped on a black face mask and dived into an individual workout with Blazers' coaches. Looks like he might have to wear that in Las Vegas.
Joe Freeman: Zach Collins suffered a broken nose when he collided with Caleb Swanigan at the end of Tuesday’s summer league practice. The Blazers are holding him out of contact portions of practice the rest of the week, but he said he’ll play in Las Vegas.
Joe Freeman: Zach Collins, who missed NBA his debut Wednesday night with gastroenteritis, has been upgraded to probable vs. the Pacers Friday.
After a right quad contusion sidelined the 7-0 rookie out of Gonzaga for all but the first two games of the Trail Blazers’ extended run at the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League, Zach Collins missed the first day of training camp practice due to suffering a concussion during informal workouts on September 22.
Jason Quick: Zach Collins says he hopes to play again in Summer League. Injury is to upper thigh. Not sure how it happened.
April 18, 2021 | 8:41 pm EDT Update
April 18, 2021 | 8:02 pm EDT Update
Duane Rankin: Monty Williams said they haven’t talked about resting guys as of yet. Talked about Chris Paul is someone you think about when talking about resting guys, but said the 35-year old (16-year NBA veteran) doesn’t want to miss games. Williams said Phoenix is relatively young. #Suns