Ahead of the matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, former Portland Trail Blazers’ big man Zach Collins spoke with Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express about his return to Rip City. Collins, who missed most of the 2019-20 season with a shoulder injury and then all of the 2020-21 season with an ankle injury, has returned to play for the Spurs in recent weeks. Regarding his ankle, Collins says he is getting in rhythm.
“I am just happy the ankle continues to feel better and that I am in better position to get the ball and play better defense, as opposed to the first couple of games back when I was a step slow,” Collins said. “I don’t have that anymore. I feel like that is all coming back.”
As for the Blazers, Collins is still grateful for the opportunity.
“It meant a lot,” Collins said of his time with Portland. “Obviously, they were the first team in this league to give me a chance. They picked me and they believed in me and I had nothing but great times there, especially those first two years with the group we had and going to the third round of the playoffs (in 2019) and almost getting to the (NBA) Finals.”
Collins regards his former teammates fondly.
Collins landed on a team heavy with what he called “good vets,” a list that included Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Evan Turner. Only Lillard remains from the group, but he is out for the remainder of the season after abdominal surgery in January. Chauncey Billups replaced Terry Stotts as coach in June 2021.
“I feel very privileged to have been able to start my career there with teammates like that,” Collins said.
As for Rip City itself, he enjoyed it.
“From day one, Portland embraced me, the fans embraced me and it was just a great time,” he said. “I have nothing but positive things to say about playing there.”
You may see him visiting Montage Ala Cart, notes Orsborn.
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