As 22 NBA teams prepare to resume play later this month, the Trail Blazers are getting a key player back in action. Here’s NBC Sports Northwest reporting:
July 23 against the Pacers will be the first competitive game the Blazers have played since mid-March.
For Jusuf Nurkic, it will be the first time he is getting up and down the court against someone other than his own teammates since March 2018, when he suffered a broken left leg.
Even though the Bosnian Beast and the rest of the Trail Blazers starters will play limited minutes, Nurkic is excited about Thursday’s scrimmage against the Pacers.
“Just to play the game. I have no restrictions, so I’m feeling great, excited to play the game. I don’t know about that scrimmage, I think it’s more preseason style. We’re going to have jerseys on, so I don’t know why they call a scrimmage that. We televise it too, so I’m not sure about that. I think it’s just excitement… I’m really looking forward to playing.” — Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic
At 29-37, the Blazers sit 3.5 games behind the Western conference 8-seed Grizzlies. Portland will reportedly be without the services of Trevor Ariza, but getting Nurkic back could be a huge boost. He hasn’t played yet this season but in 2018-19 averaged 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Additionally, Zach Collins will also be active for the Blazers once again.
It’s an incredibly tight race just outside the West 8-spot. The Blazers have a 43.9% winning percentage, while the Pelicans and Kings are a 43.8%. We look forward to seeing what sort of effect Nurkic has for the squad.