Blazers’ Damian Lillard speaks out on watching Jusuf Nurkic rehab his devastating injury
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard and big man Jusuf Nurkic are very close teammates.
Lillard has been watching Nurkic rehab his horrific leg injury closely and providing tips whenever he can.
The Blazers superstar says it’s been “weird” watching Nurkic rehab the injury because you never really know how someone is truly feeling.
“It’s been weird, just because like — you don’t really know, you never really know, because it’s all about how the player feels and you’re not the one dealing with the injury,” Lillard told Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest.
“And, I’ve been hurt so I know how it feels like to feel good some days and to not feel good, get sore other things start to hurt. So, I know it’s been a journey for him.”
The 25-year-old big man 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, helping the Blazers to a 45-27 record when he 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 28-37 on the season. They are in 11th 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, Lillard and Portland are no doubt thrilled he 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.