Starting Trail Blazers power forward Zach Collins will undergo surgery for a stress reaction in his left ankle and has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Collins was originally expected to be re-examined next week, but it seems the team decided to address his injury immediately.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports clarifies that the Collins injury is officially a hairline medial malleolus stress fracture (Twitter link).
After a surprise 100-93 victory in the first game of their 1-8 quarterfinals matchup with the Lakers, the Trail Blazers fell 111-88 to Los Angeles yesterday, tying the series at 1-1. Collins missed both contests, with rookie power forward Wenyen Gabriel starting in his stead.
This is certainly a blow for the Trail Blazers’ hopes of scoring a historic first round playoff upset against the Lakers, though it is not unfamiliar territory for the team this year. Collins missed most of Portland’s season with a left shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for all but 11 games of the Blazers’ regular season and Orlando campus seeding games.
The Blazers signed 17-year veteran Carmelo Anthony to replace Collins in November. During the season restart, Anthony shifted to the team’s starting small forward position after Trevor Ariza opted to sit out of the Disney World campus due to health concerns. Anthony may see more time at the power forward slot in the series going forward.
In Collins’ absence, the Blazers have also experimented with ultra-big lineups to counter the Lakers’ size during their series, occasionally playing centers Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside together.