Jusuf Nurkic is expected to return from a year-long leg injury when the Portland Trail Blazers face the Houston Rockets on March 15th. The news comes courtesy of Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. However, there are still some variables at play. Before Portland’s game in Phoenix, coach Terry Stotts noted that the 15th is the target date, but is not yet set in stone. He still must clear benchmarks before getting back on the court.
Nurkic has been out of action since March 25th of 2019. He fractured his tibia in Portland’s gave versus the Brooklyn Nets. The Blazers have played without him all season, relying on center Hassan Whiteside to fill the gap.
Haynes quotes Nurkic on his eagerness to return...
“I’m ready to help my team make the playoffs,” he told Yahoo Sports. “It’s time.”
...and on the work it took to get to this point, plus the hurdles yet to face:
“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].
The article has plenty more from Nurkic, including rooting on his team during his absence, his philosophy on playing with Whiteside, and his appreciation for Portland fans.