NBA

Trail Blazers center Nurkic suffers wrist fracture

By Sports Desk January 15, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is set for another spell on the sidelines after suffering a right wrist fracture on Thursday.

Nurkic left the Trail Blazers' 111-87 defeat to the Indiana Pacers in the third quarter after hurting his arm while swiping at Malcolm Brogdon.

The 26-year-old Bosnian suffered a broken leg in 2019 and spent over a year out, only returning in July last year after the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Head coach Terry Stotts was planning to discuss whether Portland should bring in another big with general manager Neil Olshey on Friday, given Zach Collins is already out due to an Achilles problem.

"I did see [Nurkic] after the game. He had a splint on, so obviously very disappointing for him and for us," said Stotts.

"He had a long road back from his other injury, he had a rough start to the season, it looked like he was getting back on track and obviously this is a huge setback for both him and for us.

"I'm going to sit down with Neil tomorrow and we'll talk about what options we have.

"Most likely [Enes Kanter will start], but we'll evaluate that. Obviously, Harry Giles is going to get an opportunity to play and we'll figure out whether it's best to start him or bring him off the bench, but we'll see."

Nurkic averaged 9.8 points and 7.7 rebounds through 12 games this season. He had five points on 2-of-8 shooting and eight rebounds before leaving the game against the Pacers.

Damian Lillard called on his fellow Trail Blazers to rally together and fill the void that Nurkic's absence creates.

"We've got to show our love for him but also give him his space. It's hard to deal with when the game we love to play and is part of our lives every day is taken away abruptly," said Lillard.

"We're always going to be here for him. It's a tough thing. It comes with what we do and it can happen at any time.

"[He was] frustrated, disappointed, a little sad, like anyone would be in that situation.

"He plays a major part in our team and our success. Obviously you're not going to have one person turn into Nurk, it has to be by committee. In the past we've been able to count on guys to come in and fill those holes collectively and that's what we'll be looking at now."

CJ McCollum added: "It's terrible. He's a huge part of our team. Obviously he's been through a lot historically with injuries, so you never want to see it with anybody, especially him.

"It's tough. The season still goes on, it waits for no one, so we have to figure out a way to continue to move forward.

"Enes has been big for us in the past so will have to step up, Harry will have to play, some small ball, we'll do a lot of different stuff. It's an unfortunate part of the game but it's a challenge and I'm looking forward to seeing how we respond to it."

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