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Blazers GM Neil Olshey says Jusuf Nurkic is ‘on or ahead of schedule’ in recovery from leg injury

Blazers, Neil Olshey, Jusuf Nurkic

Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic underwent season-ending surgery in March of this year to repair compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula. While he remains without an official timeline for return, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey believes Nurkic is “on or ahead of schedule.”

Nurkic suffered his injury in the second overtime period of a victory over the Brooklyn Nets. He landed awkwardly after grabbing an offensive rebound and was later taken off the court on a stretcher. It was a tough blow, to be sure, as he was enjoying the best statistical year of his career.

In 72 appearances with the Blazers last season, the former 16th overall pick racked up averages of 15.6 points on 50.8 percent shooting from the field, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steal in 27.4 minutes per outing.

At this point it’s not clear when Nurkic will be cleared for action. Some reports have him listed as “out” until February. He’s already working hard towards recovery, as shown by a video posted by Pinwheel Empire in June:

The Trail Blazers finished the 2018-19 season with a 53-29 overall record, which earned the team a No. 3 overall seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Unfortunately, though, Portland defeated the No. 2-seeded Denver Nuggets in the second round, 4-3.