The Portland Trail Blazers have been playing shorthanded for the past week after big man Zach Collins suffered a dislocated shoulder in their big comeback win over the Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately for them, Collins won't be returning to the floor anytime soon.
Early on Saturday evening, the team announced that Collins will need to undergo surgery on his shoulder. That surgery has taken place, and according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Collins will now be out for at least four months while he recovers.
Late in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks, Collins was battling for a rebound under the basket when he injured his shoulder. He knew immediately that something was wrong, and the Blazers' training staff wasted no time bringing him back to the locker room.
Zach Collins leaves game with left shoulder injury#ripcity pic.twitter.com/siIj4s3FGR— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) October 28, 2019
After the game, Collins addressed the media and said that the training staff was able to pop his shoulder back into place without too much trouble. That seemed like good news at the time, but the results of his MRI were obviously not what he or the Blazers were hoping for.
Portland is already thin in the frontcourt as they wait for Jusuf Nurkic to return from the horrific leg injury he suffered last season, and Collins had been playing a big role in the first few games. They'll now have to lean even more heavily on Hassan Whiteside, who they acquired in the offseason, as well as young Skal Labissiere, who is the only other true big on the roster who's played any meaningful minutes this season.
Even with those two playing more minutes, though, they've been forced to play some super small lineups, including starting Anthony Tolliver at center against the 76ers when Whiteside was also out due to a bone bruise on his knee.
Collins may not be a household name, but he's an important part of this Blazers team, and his absence is already proving harmful. Hopefully, for the Blazers, he's able to return sooner rather than later, as even just a few games could make a big difference in the playoff race out West this season.