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Blazers’ Neil Olshey says Jusuf Nurkic could be out until February

Neil Olshey, Jusuf Nurkic, Blazers

When Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a leg injury a few weeks before the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the consensus within the organization was that he will be ready for the start of next season, or at least be back around November or December. However, general manager Neil Olshey believes the Bosnian Beast could potentially be out until February of next year.

Nurkic’s absence wasn’t felt by the Blazers in the early stages of the playoffs, when they took care of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round and survived the Denver Nuggets in the second. But when they reached the Western Conference Finals, they were completely dominated by the Golden State Warriors; they exited the postseason winless in the series.

Knowing that Nurkic could miss an extended period could also have a significant impact on the Blazers next season, especially since they already lost center Enes Kanter to the Boston Celtics. Portland also traded center-forward Meyers Leonard to the Miami Heat, which means the team will have to find a suitable replacement in free agency.

The Blazers are expected to remain one of the best teams in the West, but with the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Lakers bolstering their rosters, reaching the conference finals for the second straight year might be a tall order for Rip City.

Yes, they still have Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but the Blazers will need to address some of their roster holes if they want to have a strong start next season.