The Raiders, who have 10 players on injured reserve, are 3-10 entering Sunday's home against the AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens. Collins did not play in Sunday's 27-7 loss at Pittsburgh and is expecting to undergo surgery in the not-too-distant future.
Collins, however, said that the time has not yet been decided. He added there is no ligament damage, just some "maintenance work that needs to be taken care of." Collins said the knee began bothering him during the week of practice before Oakland's 22-8 loss to the Denver Broncos on November 11.
"It's hard," Collins said of the injury. "I still have that fire. I get my fix every Sunday and I'm missing out on it. All I can do is help my teammates throughout the course of a game. That's my way of staying in it. … I tried to fight the battle as long as I could."
Right tackle Lincoln Kennedy, who lines up next to Collins, has epitomized the notion of playing through pain. Kennedy has been playing through an assortment of injuries the last few years. Collins added that Kennedy's determination has been a model for him since Oakland drafted him in the first round from Florida in 1998.
"I wish the young guys would see that it takes that type of dedication," Collins said. "But we don't have that nowadays. They don't give damn. Lincoln Kennedy is from the old school and I came up underneath him. As long as you can walk and you can breath, you gotta go. You're missing that a lot in the league this year."
"I think it's a lot of changes in the rules and generation. Guys get their money before they have to earn it. I was a first-rounder but I had a lot of pride. I wanted to come in and start immediately and contribute. I wanted to feel like I was part of the team."
Despite having his season cut short, Collins does not anticipate the injury adversely affecting his future or rehab.
"I think the more time you wait, the more time you take out of your offseason program," Collins said. "This is typically a three to four week rehab. That will give me plenty of time to make sure I'm ready in the offseason. … I wanted to send a message to the organization and my teammates that I'm not quitting. This is my home. I started here and I want to finish here."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org