UPDATE: Portland center Jusuf Nurkic will miss at least eight weeks following an upcoming procedure on the broken right wrist he suffered in Thursday’s loss to Indiana.
Portland center Jusuf Nurkic will undergo surgery on his fractured right wrist and miss at least eight weeks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 15, 2021
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PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic fractured his right wrist Thursday night during a game against the Indiana Pacers.
Nurkic could be seen holding the wrist after swiping at the ball in the third quarter, and he fell to the floor after contact under Indiana’s basket. At a timeout he went to to the locker room and did not return.
On replay, it looks as though the injury occurred when Nurkic swiped at the ball on a Malcom Brogdan drive near the 8:45 mark of the third quarter. He immediately grabbed his right wrist but still managed to contest a shot attempt, which sent the center to the ground as the Blazers went the other way in transition. The Pacers would call timeout after the Blazers scored, with Nurkic going straight to the locker room with the team medical staff.
The 7-foot-0 Bosnian was averaging 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds heading into the game.
The injury puts Nurkic’s season and the Trail Blazers’ hopes of a top seed in the Western Conference in jeopardy, especially with young big man Zach Collins also sidelined due to ankle surgery. Portland is now down to Enes Kanter and Harry Giles as the only healthy centers on the roster.
“I’m going to sit down with (president of basketball operations) Neil (Olshey) tomorrow and we’ll talk about what options we have,” said Stotts.
“He’s our starting center, we ask him to do a lot of things,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said of Nurkic’s injury. “He plays a major part in our team and our success. So obviously you’re not going to have one person come in and just turn into Nurk, but it has to be by committee. And in the past we’ve always been able to count on guys to come in and fill those holes collectively. That’s what we’re gonna be looking at now.”
Nurkic missed much of the first half of last season after breaking his left leg in a game in March 2019. He returned to the team to play in the the bubble in Orlando, Florida, after the season was put on hold because of coronavirus.
“He had a long road back from his other injury,” coach Terry Stotts said. “He had a rough start of the season, it looked like he was getting back on track. Obviously this is a big setback for him and for us.”
Stotts said Nurkic was in a splint after the game.
“Frustrated. Disappointed. A little sad,” Lillard said when asked how Nurkic was doing after the game. “Like anybody would be in that situation.”Game Recap: Pacers 111, Blazers 87
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.