That the rebuilding Spurs took a chance on Zach Collins this offseason was not a huge surprise, a 7-foot center who plays quality defense and can shoot the three is worth a roll of the dice, even coming off another ankle surgery. The fact they gave him $7 million this season was a surprise (it was reported as a three-year $22 million contract, however, this season and only $3.7 million of next season are guaranteed), but Collins is getting his chance.
When will the Spurs get to see if this gamble pays off? Sometime after Christmas, coach Gregg Popovich told reporters, via Tom Osborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
Pop says the last he’s heard from medical staff is that the timeline for Zach Collins (ankle) to return is “after Christmas.” He added that he’s not sure what that means exactly. But it is a positive report, though, for a young player who has been through a lot injury-wise.
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) October 2, 2021
Collins has battled injuries through his three NBA seasons, playing just 11 games last season in Portland due to surgery to repair a medial malleolus stress fracture in his left ankle. However, when he played last season, he averaged 7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, played good defense, and shot 36.8% on 3-pointers.
The Spurs will start Jakob Poeltl at center, have Jock Landale behind him, and could play Thaddeus Young at the five in small-ball lineups. All of which is to say, there are minutes for Collins once he gets healthy, but that’s a couple of months away.