By Emily Ackerman
Jusuf Nurkic’s injury– is it bringing the Portland community together? Or is it ruining the blazers chance to succeed in the playoffs?
Jusuf Nurkic, the 7 foot tall forward was named the Bosnian Beast averages 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, over one block, and 3+ assists per game. He has been consistently in the starting 5 and his presence has created a unified fan base like none other. “Nurkic even had one of few five-by-five games in NBA history. That’s at least five points, rebounds, assists, steals. and blocks” (www.sbnation.com).
Nurkic’s record breaking season came to an astonishing end on March 25th during a game against the Brooklyn Nets. When going for a rebound and landing on a weird angle, Nurkic would then be diagnosed with a compound fracture of the left tibula and fibula.
His injury was detrimental to both the Blazers’ season as well to Nurkic’s. In the midst of his best season yet, Nurkic is unable to play. The blazers, just securing a spot in the playoffs after the March 25th game, now has doubts about how successful their post season play will be without two of their most influential players, Nurkic and a guard CJ McCollum who just suffered a knee injury.
Looking ahead to the playoffs, the Blazers could be facing the 2 time reining champions, the Golden State Warriors. Charles Curtis from USA today says “It’s nearly impossible to beat the Warriors and their new lineup of death,” but goes on to say that “the Blazers with Nurkic had a chance”. The blazers have successfully beat the Warriors twice this season but the Blazers had Nurkic in the lineup while the Warriors didn’t play DeMarcus Cousins who would have likely had an impact of the game’s result. With Nurkic out for the rest of the season and DeMarcus Cousins back in, does that solidify the imminent defeat against the Warriors or can the Blazers step up to the challenge?
Despite the challenging playoffs that are soon to come, the Blazer fan community has banded together in support of Jusuf Nurkic, a fan favorite, and his speedy recovery. “Just days after Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic went down with a season-ending leg injury, a campaign for a billboard to honor him has swept Rip City” said Lindsey Wisniewski from Sports Northwest. A GoFundMe was even created by a serious Nurkic fan, Al Nelson, to create a billboard in Portland that says “We Love You Jusuf Nurkic”. With the billboard receiving so much support, the idea has been turned into reality. The design for the billboard was just released and is pictured below:
As of now the blazers have an impressive lead against OKC leading 2-0 in the postseason first round. Final playoff outcomes are unknown but what is confirmed is the billboard becoming a reality in Portland– so keep your eye out for it around the city.