Spurs’ Zach Collins says ankle held up just fine in Austin debut

SAN ANTONIO – Spurs forward Zach Collins offered a positive self-assessment after playing in his first game in 17 months.

“It felt good to be a normal basketball player again,” Collins said after scoring eight points and blocking three shots in 19 minutes as a starter in the Austin Spurs’ 127-124 win over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Monday in Cedar Park. “And now it’s dealing with the regular soreness of games and not dealing with the ankle.”

The Spurs on Sunday assigned Collins to their G League affiliate in what should be the final step in a long rehabilitation process after he had surgery on his left ankle in June 2021.

Collins, 24, last appeared in an NBA game for Portland on Aug. 13, 2020, during the 2019-20 season pandemic restart in Orlando, Fla. The Spurs signed him this past offseason to a three-year, $22 million contract after he played three seasons with the Trail Blazers.

Collins said he wasn’t really concerned about the ankle during Monday’s game and was able to push himself.

“I definitely got more comfortable with my body more in the second half,” he said. “But I definitely didn’t feel like (the ankle) was holding me back at all.”

Collins said he “believes” the plan is for him to play one more game with Austin on Friday.

“Then after that, if that goes well, and the ankle responds to that well, then I should…

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Tom Orsborn

Tom Orsborn

San Antonio Express-News

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Sportswriter for 36 years at San Antonio Express-News, covering everything from preps to the Cowboys to the Spurs. Proud San Antonio College alum.