The Portland Trail Blazers could head into the NBA’s restart in Orlando with two major reinforcements: Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. Nurkic was ready to make his return on March 15, but the season suspension on March 11 put his debut on hold. Collins, meanwhile, is progressing in his rehab from left shoulder surgery following a dislocation suffered in the third game of the season. As Joe Freeman of The Oregonian writes, Collins has been given the green light by his doctor to resume full basketball activities:
Last Wednesday, Collins’ surgically repaired left shoulder was given a final clean bill of health by Dr. Evan Ellis, meaning Collins has been given a green light to resume full basketball activities — including multiplayer workouts and scrimmages — when the team officially returns to the court at the end of the month.
Collins said rehabilitation wasn’t difficult, but “long and boring”:
“When my doc came in and said my shoulder feels like a normal shoulder, that I was good to go, it was like a weight was lifted,” Collins said. “I tell people all the time that he whole rehab process isn’t difficult. It’s just very long and boring. The worst part is not being on the road with the team, not being around them every day, feeling disconnected. It’s weird. Odd. So, mentally, it’s a big struggle. I’m just super excited to be back and know that I can do everything again.”
The third-year big man believes that Portland has “as good a shot as anyone” when play resumes:
“We’re healthy,” Collins said. “Well, we’re not fully healthy — we don’t have Rodney (Hood) — but we have Nurk and me and a lot of guys that had to step up and play more minutes than expected during the season. Put all that together, combined with guys coming back and the time off and everybody’s body being ready and recovered, and I think we have as good a shot as anyone.”
NBA legend Charles Barkley recently said that Portland is a sleeper title contender if Collins and Nurkic return for the Blazers in Orlando.
You can read more about Collins’ rehab and his thoughts on the NBA resuming play here.