Haynes: Jusuf Nurkić To Return For March 15 Game Versus Rockets

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

According to reports, the Bosnian Beast is almost back. 

Chris Haynes at Yahoo! Sports posted an interview with Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkić, who has not played since breaking his left left in a double overtime victory versus the Brooklyn Nets on March 25, 2019, in which the 7-0 center says he will make his return in the March 15 game versus the Houston Rockets at the Moda Center...

Nurkic returned to practice on Jan. 23, and he’s been itching to rejoin his teammates in game action. 

“I worked my ass off to be in position to get back on the court and help my team, but game speed is going to be different,” Nurkic told Yahoo Sports. “I’m not going to be playing 40 minutes. But for me, mentally, I need to get these reps in before I can play [extended minutes]. Physically, I’m good. I had a calf strain recently, which is normal for the injury I had. I’ve been pleased with where my rehab is going. I never doubted I’d be back, but I had to make sure I was 100 percent. I can’t wait for [March 15].” 

Last season, Nurkic averaged career highs in points (15.6), rebounds (10.4) and field goal percentage (50.8). He played a vital role in helping the franchise advance to the conference finals for the first time in 19 years.

[...]

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve been there before. There were struggles and fun times, but mainly during my rehab I was focused on how I could get back to normal. How I can get the reps in to make sure I’m preparing myself properly. It’s been a crazy year with so many emotions, but I’m glad it’s finally time.”

Nurkić also discusses the pairing with Hassan Whiteside, who is averaging 16.1 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in 31.1 minutes per game this season, and the support he's received from fans since the gruesome injury.

It's worth mentioning that while this is undoubtably good news, there's plenty that can happen between now and March 15 that could change Nurkić's timeline for return. But assuming there are no additional setbacks, Nurkić will be back in time to help the Blazers make one final push in the last month of the regular season. 

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