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Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic’s timeline to return from wrist injury, revealed

Jusuf Nurkic, Damian Lillard, Blazers injury

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a broken wrist during Thursday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers and he will miss at least the next couple of months.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Nurkic will undergo surgery and miss eight weeks.

This is a tough loss for Portland, but more so for Nurkic individually.

The 26-year-old missed the vast majority of the 2019-20 season due to a broken leg he suffered in March of 2019. Nurkic returned to play the final eight games of the regular season and immediately got back to form. The Bosnian averaged 17.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 blocks during the seeding games. He also looked strong in the Trail Blazers’ first-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

Portland reloaded in the offseason, especially on the wing. But the hope was Nurkic could regain his reputation as an imposing force down low. That was hardly the case early in the season.

Nurkic was averaging just over 10 points per game entering Thursday’s matchup, but he was averaging fewer than 10 shot attempts per game and also getting to the free throw line less. His -2.6 offensive box-plus minus was a black mark, especially considering he looked like a breakout star before suffering the aforementioned leg injury in 2019.

Still, Nurkic gave Portland rim protection and presence in the paint, Now, the Blazers (once again) have a depleted frontcourt, with Zach Collins also still out due to injury.

Head coach Terry Stotts will have to go with a lot of smaller rotations until Nurkic returns.