Portland Trail Blazers: The impact of Zach Collins’ surgery and recovery

The Zach Collins injury saga continues for the Portland Trail Blazers. This time the talented power forward has had corrective surgery on his ankle.

Fourth-year power forward Zach Collins has had a setback in his recovery. He underwent revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture and has been ruled out indefinitely. This could not have happened at a worse time for the Portland Trail Blazers big man.

Collins, the 10th pick in the 2017 draft has never really lived up to his potential. As a rookie, he played 66 games, averaging 4.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 0.5 blocks in 15.8 minutes per game.

Then in his second year, Collins averaged 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists, and 0.9 blocks in 17.6 minutes. 2019-20 was supposed to be his coming out season. Collins moved into the starting lineup and averaged 7.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game.

How it all went wrong for Zach Collins and the Portland Trail Blazers in 2019-20.

Collins was starting to show some really good signs. While his shooting average did not go up by much, Collins was starting to hit the 3-ball at 36.8 percent for the 2019-20 season. His previous career-best was 33.1 percent. This meant that Collins was averaging above his career numbers in all the standard metrics except blocks per game.

Then the injury curse struck Collins when he injured his shoulder just three games in. This injury kept him out until the bubble restart. He then played every game in the bubble until the playoffs, when he suffered the ankle injury which required the initial surgery.

Now Collins has had to have corrective surgery on an issue to the area that was just surgically resolved. This brings into question whether he is too injury prone to continue working with. The Blazers have somewhat of a history of big men getting injured.

The most famous example of this is Sam Bowie who was taken with the second pick in the same draft where Michael Jordan was taken with the third pick. This is an extreme example as Jordan is considered the best of all time and winning championships and Bowie’s career ended early through injury.

The issue for Collins is that he is in the final year of his rookie-scale contract in a year when the Balzers are considered contenders for the finals. if he is not going to able to contribute towards the title run, then this lowers his value when it comes to the negotiating table.

Collins may have another problem in the form of Harry Giles. If Giles can stay healthy and is able to deliver on the promise that he showed during high school and college, there may not be a spot for Collins next year on the roster.

There is a chance that it may be Carmelo Anthony’s final season but the Blazers have had one season wrecked by injury in Damian Lillard’s prime. The question that must be asked is do they want to risk wasting another with Collins being injured for most of it?

With the Blazers already having $130 million in salary on the books for next season they need to be smart where they spend their money to fill out their roster. While Collins has shown he is a total professional when it comes to rehab if he wants to play for this team next year he needs to get back on the court as soon as possible.