Two extremely well known international basketball players are now united on the Portland Trail Blazers.
At Pau Gasol’s introductory press conference on Monday afternoon, which included Gasol, Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts, Olshey noted that the Trail Blazers ‘Health and Performance’ coaches have already or will be spending time with both Gasol and Jusuf Nurkic overseas.
On Monday’s conference call, Olshey gave an update on the Bosnian Beast.
“Nurk’s doing well. Jess Ellis, our head of H & P, was in Bosnia working with him, as a matter of fact, then he stopped off and spent a couple of days with Pau in Madrid,” Olshey said.
“Logan Sullivan, who also works with us in H & P will be heading over [to Bosnia] in two weeks, to spend a couple of weeks with Nurk again. He’ll stop over and see Pau as well,” Olshey added.
It was on March 26th of this year that the Trail Blazers center sustained compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula with just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime of Portland’s win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Nurkic underwent “successful surgery” the following day to repair the lower left leg injury.
The last official word from the team on Nurk’s status was as follows:
There is no timetable for his return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.
That statement came from a Trail Blazers press release the night of Nurkic’s injury.
There is still no official timeline at this point, but the 24-year-old’s progression is apparent to the Blazers organization.
“He’s progressing,” Olshey said. “He’s doing well. His timeline is still the same. I mean, we’re not gonna put a return date on it cause we’re still too far out, but I will say that he is absolutely on or ahead of schedule at this point.”
Earlier this summer Trail Blazers performance coach Ben Kenyon shared a video to his Instagram page so fans could get a glimpe at Nurkic’s recovery. The video, which was posted in early June, showed Nurk doing some light agility ladder work and him using a rowing machine.
The assumption now is that Gasol will be the backup center for the Trail Blazers, while Hassan Whiteside gets the starting nod at the five until Nurkic is healthy enough to play.
This tweet from Gasol on March 25th, the night that all of Rip City held its breath after learning of Nurkic’s injury, may just sum up how perfect it is that the two are uniting as teammates.
Gasol at 39 years old is coming off foot surgery and is hoping to come back stronger this season, but he had also wished the same for Nurkic.
Now Rip City will look to witness these two big men ‘stay strong and come back even stronger.’