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Zach Collins Could Return If Blazers Make A Deep Playoff Run

The oft-injured Blazers big man gives an update on his recovery.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images

Zach Collins will only return to the court this season if the Portland Trail Blazers make a deep playoff run, writes The Athletic’s Jason Quick [subscription required].

The injury-ravaged Blazers big man, who hits restricted free agency this summer, is yet to play a game this season after suffering a setback in his recovery from a fractured left foot in late December.

The playoffs will begin in roughly four weeks, and as the Blazers (32-26) sit sixth in the Western Conference, it would likely take a first-round upset by Portland to extend the season long enough for Collins to get back on the court. Collins next week will hit the four-month milestone since he underwent revision surgery to repair a left medial malleolus stress fracture. That surgery was nearly four months after the same surgery on the same ankle.

“I want to come back this season, and I’m not counting it out,” Collins said. “But I’m not guaranteeing myself coming back. I’m a competitor and I want to come back and play, so that’s my goal, but I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself to make that happen.”

Collins traded in his walking boot for a less obstructive brace two weeks ago and his currently lifting weights and walking in the pool.

“It’s different this time, we are being more conservative, going a lot slower,” Collins said. “But I’m super happy with how everything is going. I wish I could hit the fast-forward button, but I can’t. But it’s all good. Seriously. It’s feeling really good.”

Quick also suggested the Blazers front office was still interested in bringing Collins back this offseason.

Collins has not played in an NBA game since last year’s Orlando Bubble. He suited up for a mere 11 games in 2019-20 after suffering a separated left shoulder in the third game of the season.

In two and a bit seasons, Collins has put up averages of 5.7 points, 4 rebounds and 0.9 assists, playing a substantial role in the team’s 2019 playoff run.

Readers with an Athletic subscription can view the story here.