Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic will be playing in his first game on Thursday against the Indiana Pacers since he suffered his gruesome leg injury on March 25, 2019.
The Blazers big man is an emotional player who feeds off of the Rip City crowd.
With that said, Nurkic recently explained how having no fans in Orlando will impact his return to the basketball court.
“It does help that we have no fans. I’m not going to be playing the game for Rip City fans in Moda Center,” Jusuf Nurkic told Blazers reporters, via NBC Sports Northwest.
“That would be way more emotions. Just the way you prepare for it. And here, as you can see, scrimmage games, preseason games, there is nobody out there. Just TV, you and the teammates. So I think that’s kind of helpful as far as emotions. Probably going to be more of a practice approach.”
Before he got hurt in 2018-19 against the Brooklyn Nets, Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 blocks for the Blazers while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the free-throw line last season. Portland is excited to have the Bosnian Beast back in action alongside Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside.
Nurkic had 36 double-doubles and one triple-double in 2018-19. He’s one of the most skilled centers in the NBA.
The Blazers will be battling it out with the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference once the eight seeding games start on July 30.