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Jusuf Nurkic Withdraws From World Championship Pre-qualification

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The Blazers big man is focused on returning to form by the start of the 2017-18 NBA season.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jusuf Nurkic has announced that he will not participate in FIBA World Championship prequalification for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. In a Tuesday night Instagram post, the Portland Trail Blazers center explained that he is instead going to focus on rehabilitation from injury so that he is prepared for the upcoming 2017-18 NBA season.

Translation via Google Translate:

Due to the rehabilitation process after injury in the past NBA season this year, unfortunately, I will not be able to perform in prequalification for the World Championship. An assessment by my club's medical team that injuries in this condition require a careful approach and a special work program, in order to be ready to welcome a new season in a few months. I always carried the jersey of BiH with great satisfaction and I believe it will last for many years. Unfortunately, this time has prevented me from hurting. I want all the best in the upcoming matches.

In Monday’s press conference to introduce newest Trail Blazers Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey gave us an update on Nurkic’s condition:

“Nurk, as you know we’ve talked about, he was incredibly deconditioned when we got him. He’s got some imbalances between his legs which create deficits, which is one of the things that we’ve been hyper-conscious of from a ‘return to play’ criteria. It’s one of the things that Stack [Christopher Stackpole] basically uses as a guideline for where guys are. So, he had a setback, having to take some time off to rest after the injury in the Denver game. So, it’s going to take some time for him to get back into contact, but he’s in every day, he’s working out; everything’s just controlled right now and all three (Nurkic, Allen Crabbe, Ed Davis) will be ready to start camp. It’s a slower process. We’re being very diligent because the shape we got Nurk in is not where he would have been had he been with us the entire time. So, we’re not only battling the deconditioning from before, but then also the time away, that kind of moratorium he had to make sure the bone healed. So, like I said, we’ve got to correct the imbalances and the deficits to make sure when he returns to play full, it’s done safely.”

The Trail Blazers acquired Nurkic from the Denver Nuggets on February 13, in rather poor physical condition. He sustained a fibular fracture against his former team on March 28, playing in one more game against the Houston Rockets before the extent of the injury was revealed by an MRI. He missed three weeks of action, returning for Game 3 of the Trail Blazers’ playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, and has been focused on getting healthy since.