Zach Collins' time on the sideline has been extended indefinitely. On Wednesday afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that Collins underwent surgery on his left ankle to repair a stress fracture. There is currently no timetable for his recovery.
This is the second ankle surgery for Collins in the past four months as his brutal run of bad luck in regard to injuries continues. After missing most of the 2019-20 season due to shoulder surgery, Collins was cleared to play inside the bubble this summer when the season resumed. His return only lasted eight games, however, as he went down with the initial ankle injury that needed surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.
Portland was hopeful that he would return to the court sometime in January, but he has obviously suffered some sort of setback that has required a second surgery. In three-plus seasons since being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Collins has only managed to play in 154 games. Collins' inability to stay on the floor was likely a big factor in the Blazers' decision not to offer him an extension this offseason, which will take him to restricted free agency in the summer.
When he has been able to get on the court, Collins has shown some promise, and was expected by many to take a leap last season before his shoulder injury. That obviously didn't end up happening, and now his future in Portland is in serious limbo. Going generally off the timeline from the initial surgery, Collins is likely looking at a few months at least before he can return to the floor. And if he is able to play before the end of the season, he won't have an easy time finding minutes in a now much deeper Blazers frontcourt.
With Jusuf Nurkic healthy, Carmelo Anthony back and the arrivals of Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr. and Enes Kanter, the Blazers are much better prepared to deal with a frontcourt injury than they were last season. Still, this is an unfortunate loss, both for the team and Collins.