Storyline: Jusuf Nurkic Injury

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Olshey said Nurkic is “making great progress” from his broken left leg, suffered March 25 in a game against Brooklyn, however he was reluctant to place any timetable on the center’s return next season. “So far, he’s on a great trajectory in terms of returning to play … but we are not going to sacrifice anything in his recovery and (physical therapy) just to get him on the court faster,” Olshey said. If I were to guess, the target date for Nurkic to return would be late January, early February, meaning the Blazers will have to play more than half of the season without their standout center.

The Trail Blazers staved off elimination Thursday night at the Moda Center. But when they board the team plane to head to Denver on Saturday afternoon ahead of Game 7, the guy who wants to be there the most likely won’t be on the flight. “It’s ridiculous,” Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic said almost scoffing at the challenge of watching his team play the biggest games of the season while he is forced to watch from the sidelines. “But I gotta take it. For me, it’s harder when you’re out there (on the bench) and not out there (in the game). When you’re watching and you actually just can only watch as a fan, it makes even harder.”

Jusuf Nurkic: THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out to me and sent their well wishes and prayers to me after my injury. I greatly appreciate the support. I want to send a special thanks to my teammates, the Trail Blazer organization, the RIP City fans, my coaches, the team trainers and doctors who have helped me these last few days. I will work hard during my recovery and am looking forward to getting back healthy and on the court and rejoining my teammates. I will be rooting them on during the playoffs. Thanks again to #RIPCity for all the love and support.

Paul George said he was the only Thunder player who didn’t have to look away when Portland center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a gruesome leg injury Monday. The team was on the plane from Memphis to OKC that night, when Nurkic suffered a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula. The broadcast showed his lower leg hanging at an unnatural angle. George sustained a similar injury in 2014. “I wish the best for Nurkic,” George said Wednesday after practice. “Through this time it’s hard, it’s tough, but as I’ve been through it, his best days are ahead of them.”

The Thunder and Nurkic have history. In the most recent chapter of the saga, Russell Westbrook body-checked Nurkic after he thought the Portland big man tried to trip him. Later in the game, George and Nurkic got in an altercation when Nukic thought George hit him in the face. “Me and Nurkic and this program and Nurkic, a couple of us aren’t the fondest of Nurkic,” George said, “but in this moment I send my best. I don’t wish that on anybody, and I think everybody should rally behind him. As a brotherhood and as a fraternity being in the NBA, all of that stuff goes out the window when you see somebody go down.”

With 2:22 left in the second overtime period, Nurkic missed on a putback attempt and landed awkwardly, leading to his left leg bending in terrible fashion. A foul was called on the play, and after a moment players from both teams began signaling for trainers. Some sprinted away after realizing the severity of the injury. The injury was so jarring, the first people to reach Nurkic draped a towel over his leg to cover it from view. His leg was put in an air cast, and Nurkic was stretchered to the locker room. There was no immediate word on the details of the injury, but Nurkic will assuredly miss the remainder of the season. Blazers coach Terry Stotts called the injury “devastating.”
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October 17, 2019 | 2:24 pm EDT Update
The Chicago Bulls announced today the signing of Luol Deng. After signing, Deng made known his intent to retire from the NBA. “We’re very fortunate and humbled that Luol has chosen to retire as a Chicago Bull,” said President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf. “He was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help us win. I want to thank Luol for not only what he accomplished on the court for the team, but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts.”
“From the moment we made Luol Deng the seventh overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls became a better team,” said Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson. “Luol carried himself with first-class professionalism and leadership, helping lead his Bulls team to eight playoff appearances during his time in Chicago. We’ll always remember his All-Star career and the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night.”