Center Jusuf Nurkic said he is “waiting for the green light” from the Trail Blazers to play in the NBA playoffs after he conducted his second on-court pregame workout on Wednesday night at the Moda Center.
Nurkic, who was diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture in his right fibula on March 31, said he had an x-ray on Wednesday but he said he doesn’t know the result.
“I don’t know a lot; still waiting to hear from the doctor,’’ Nurkic said after his 25-minute pregame workout. “Right now, I feel good. I’m waiting for the green light.’’
Coach Terry Stotts on Wednesday said the team will announce an update on Nurkic on Friday, which is on schedule from the team’s original two-week re-evaluation timeline.
Nurkic complained of pain in his lower right leg after the March 28 game against Denver, when he had 33 points and 15 rebounds against his former team. However, he played the next game, March 30 against Houston, finishing with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 32 minutes. He played until the final buzzer.
Nurkic was never fitted with a cast or a walking boot and has taken part in two pregame workout sessions – about 10 minutes last Thursday before the Minnesota game and 25 minutes on Wednesday before the regular-season finale against New Orleans.
“I haven’t been doing anything crazy, just putting up shots, not a lot of contact,’’ Nurkic said. “But it’s progress.’’
After being acquired on Feb. 12 in a trade with Denver, Nurkic was one of the central figures in the Blazers’ late-season turnaround. Portland went 14-6 with him in the lineup as he averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 blocks in 29 minutes.
Whether Nurkic is cleared to play figures to be a central storyline as Sunday’s Game 1 nears against Golden State. Nurkic’s presence, both offensively and defensively, figures to be central to the Blazers’ chances of competing against the two-time defending Western Conference champions.
Nurkic knows that will be the big question on everyone’s mind as the series nears, and on Wednesday after he wiped away sweat from his workout, he offered as much insight as he could.
“I would say wait, and you are going to see,’’ Nurkic said.