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Jusuf Nurkic: “All I Care is How I Can Get Back”

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Jusuf Nurkic talks about his rehab and recovery from his leg injury, his friendship with Mario Hezonja, and when he expects to be back.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers-Media Day Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Jusuf Nurkic, sidelined with an injury, spoke during the Portland Trail Blazers’ annual media day about his recovery, the roster changes, and his expectations for Mario Hezonja.

  • Regarding his injury, Nurkic stated: “The struggle is out there on the street, I have pretty much everything... My injury, it’s a setback in my job. Injury is part of the sport, so it’s part of the job.” He noted that even though it looked bad, it is expected to heal well.
  • After his injury, Nurkic was kicked by a referee. When asked about it, Nurkic said, “I was more curious about the referee kicking me than my injury. I don’t want to believe he did it on purpose. I don’t know what my reaction should be. I don’t believe there is any reason for anyone to step over the injured person.”
  • On his rehab program, Nurkic said that he has been pain-free for months, and that he is making progress. He was able to spend some time in Bosnia this summer, along with Blazers staff, and he said it helped clear his mind. “A lot of stuff you can’t control, injury is one part. All I care is how I can get back.”
  • As to the roster turnover, Nurkic said it was interesting, and he wondered what the rotation would look like.
  • Regarding his return, he said, “I’m going to be back when I’m back. One day at a time. Last part is that I’m thinking about when I’m coming back.” He says he has a good program and good support, and that he does what they tell him to do.
  • On the upcoming season, Nurkic stated, “I hope everything turns out well. I hope we stay healthy. I hope I can come back and contribute.”
  • As to his new teammates, Nurkic noted that he was excited for the addition of Pau Gasol, but he is also glad to have Mario Hezonja in Portland. He acknowledged that he and Hezonja have known each other a long time, and that Hezonja is one of the best prospects since Drazen Petrovic. He helped Hezonja settle in. He says that he expects Hezonja to improve with consistent playing time and a clear role on the team. “Everyone loves him already. He’s a great guy. He is a hard worker.”
  • Asked about previous injuries, Nurkic commented that previous injuries felt worse, even if this injury looked worse. He is doing everything he can for his rehab.