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Blazers’ Collins is focused on ‘coming back better than I was before’

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Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins spoke with KOIN’s AJ McCord about his ankle injury rehabilitation ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Zach Collins rehabilitation journey ahead of the Trail Blazers’ 2020-21 campaign appears to be on track. The former Gonzaga standout spoke with KOIN’s AJ McCord about his mindset and how the Blazers have taken steps to improve his return trajectory.

After a limited, 11-game season in 2019-20, Collins explained that he is focused on returning better than ever from the ankle injury that he suffered inside the NBA’s Orlando-based bubble.

“My focus is coming back better than I was before,” said Collins. “It’s not coming back trying to be the same or waking up pissed off that I have to work on this stupid ankle.”

Collins went on to detail how his mindset has shifted over the course of his latest injury rehabilitation.

“Your mindset is a very powerful thing when it comes to what you want your day to look like and how you want to feel about what you do. It can really translate into making your workouts better, making your rehab that much better.”

“When you think about stuff in a positive light and not overly positive where it’s like, ‘oh my gosh everything in the world is sunshine and rainbows,’ but it’s realizing this is the reality, this is out of your control, how do you make the best of it?”

The Blazers appear to have taken into account that Collins’ return to the court could occur after the start of the 2020-21 season. Collins acknowledged that Portland has acquired players at his position over the course of the last two weeks, but the 23-year-old big fella told McCord that he is motivated by the moves that the Blazers have made.

“I’m locked in,” Collins said when I suggested the idea it takes some pressure of his recovery. “It really doesn’t [take the pressure off] honestly. If anything, it adds more pressure because I want to be out there playing with them. I know how good we can be.”

Collins has appeared in 154 games with the Blazers after he was selected with the No. 10 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In his limited appearances last season, he averaged 7.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

You can read the full interview between Collins and McCord at KOIN.