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Blazers C Jusuf Nurkic admits G League practice is his ‘last stop’ before return

jusuf nurkic, Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic has “one more checkpoint” before his long-awaited return to NBA action on Sunday against the Houston Rockets.

The Bosnian big man last played on March 25, 2019, when he gruesomely suffered compound fractures to his tibia and fibula in an overtime game against the Brooklyn Nets. His return was pushed back six weeks ago due to a calf strain.

Before he can suit up for the Blazers, Nurkic will practice with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League on Wednesday.

“One more checkpoint for me. That’s my last stop before I finally say yes. But I don’t see (the practice being an) issue,” Jusuf Nurkic said, per Jason Quick of The Athletic.

Like Stephen Curry’s stint in the G League, don’t expect the Blazers center’s stint in Santa Cruz to last beyond a practice. The seven-footer made his feelings on playing in a G-League game abundantly clear.

“You want me to play a G League game? Come on. I  respect the guys there, but to play G League game doesn’t make sense. Being hurt here, and to play a G League game before an NBA game … but I do want to feel the guys, the reps, the practice, just the fundamentals and feel how it look like. I feel like everything is going the right direction … I’ve been through a lot, but I feel it’s important to go through one more spot and see how that goes,” the Bosnian beast added.

The Blazers (28-37) could use all the help they could get as they cling to the far reaches of the race for the final playoff spot in the West. They trail the Memphis Grizzlies (32-32) by 4.5 games entering Monday.