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Carmelo Anthony speaks out on Jusuf Nurkic’s pending Blazers return

Jusuf Nurkic, Carmelo Anthony, Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic will make his return to the court on March 15 against the Houston Rockets and veteran small forward Carmelo Anthony is looking forward to it.

More than anything, Anthony wants Nurkic to have fun playing the game he loves and feel confident in all the work he’s put in to get back:

“When he runs out there, I just want him to be excited and feel comfortable and confident with the rehabbing and the work that he’s put in,” Anthony told Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest. “And if he’s comfortable and confident in that, then you’ll see Nurk out there feeling good.”

Nurkic had a great regular season for the Blazers in 2018-19 before he got hurt. The 7-footer averaged 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Nurkic recorded 36 double-doubles and one triple-double. The Blazers were 45-27 when Nurkic was in the lineup.

Many believe the Blazers could have competed better with the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference Finals if Nurkic was playing. Without DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors didn’t have anyone who could have given Nurkic problems in the post.

It’s unfortunate Nurkic had to suffer the serious injury which he did last season, but everyone knows he’s going to come back motivated.

The Blazers are 28-36 on the season. They are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings. While it’s going to take a while for Nurkic to knock off the rust and get back to his old level, the Blazers are no doubt thrilled “The Bosnian Beast” is back for the stretch run of the season.

After all, it would be sad to watch the Blazers miss the playoffs after the run they had last season.