After missing nearly a month since his non-displaced fracture of the right fibula, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic returned from injury for Game 3 of the first-round best-of-seven series against the Golden State Warriors.
The big bruiser played only 17 minutes in the game and had a game-high 11 rebounds, but seem limited, unable to run at full speed or elevate as usual.
Warriors center JaVale McGee, another big man used to making an impact in limited minutes, is hoping Nurkic isn’t risking his career by trying to chip in for his new team.
“He was out there passing the ball well, I mean, it didn’t look like he was still 100 percent,” McGee told Malika Andrews of The Associated Press. “I just hope he’s not out there playing just for the playoffs and do something to his career because he’s trying to prove a point, coming from someone who’s done that.”
Nurkic has a $2.95 million team option coming down the pipe this summer, and at time players that are traded midway through the season and then injured, are forced to show their mettle through these circumstances.
The Bosnian Beast has averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks since being traded from the Denver Nuggets prior to the deadline and has been itching to play since the start of the playoffs. Head coach Terry Stotts and the Blazers’ medical staff are monitoring him closely and could surely pull him back if any complications were to arise.
The Blazers are down 3-0 in the series heading into Game 4 tonight at the Moda Center.