The Portland Blazers suffered a major loss Monday night with a gruesome, season-ending injury to center, Jusuf Nurkic. In the second overtime against the Brooklyn Nets, Nurkic jumped for an offensive rebound and landed on his left foot, awkwardly. His leg folded beneath him and audibly snapped. Nets players close enough to see the severity of the damage immediately made room in the area surrounding Nurkic.
A stretcher was called as fans and players combined stood by silently. Blazers Teammates Damian Lillard, Rodney Hood and Al-Farouq Aminu helped load Nurkic onto it and he was taken to the hospital. The Blazers confirmed this morning that he has compound fractures to his left tibia and fibia and is out for the season.
Nurkic has been playing out the best season of his career, scoring 32 points and 16 rebounds last night, before his injury. He is averaging 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in 71 games this season. The 7-foot Bosnian has been instrumental to the Blazers drive to the playoffs as one of their two bigs. He has been the team’s leading rebounder and third-leading scorer.
The Blazers went on to win the game 148-144, clinching their spot in Playoffs, for the sixth consecutive year. A 3-point from Rodney Hood and some free throws from Seth Curry closed out the game. They will now finish out the season without Nurkic and without CJ McCollum until at least April 4th. McCollum suffered a knee injury on March 16th in a game against the San Antonio Spurs. He will miss the Blazers next four games on the road.
The Blazers will go on to play the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night. Only time will tell how Nurkic’s injury will affect the team’s rhythm. Injuries like this are always hard to see, especially in such young, talented players. Hopefully, Nurkic will make a speedy recovery.
Featured Photo Credit: Randy L. Rasmussen
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