OFFICIAL: Jusuf Nurkic suffers season-ending leg injury

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OFFICIAL: Jusuf Nurkic suffers season-ending leg injury

Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic sustained compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula with 2:22 remaining in the second overtime of Portland’s win over Brooklyn on Monday.

There is no timetable for his return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.

In 72 games this season (all starts), Nurkic averaged career highs of 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.00 steal to go with 1.40 blocks. He shot a career-best 50.8% from the field and 77.3% from the foul line. Nurkic posted a career-high 36 double-doubles and led the Trail Blazers in rebounds 46 times, assists 12 times and points eight times. He ranks 15th in the NBA in rebounding and 16th in blocks.

Blazers Shootaround Notebook: Nurk running stairs, Melo happy to be in Denver, & game plan vs. Jokic

Blazers Shootaround Notebook: Nurk running stairs, Melo happy to be in Denver, & game plan vs. Jokic

DENVER – As the Trail Blazers get set to face the Denver Nuggets, who have now lost five of their last six games, it’s a time for Carmelo Anthony to reflect on the place that started it all. 

It was in the 2003 NBA Draft when the Denver Nuggets selected Anthony as the third overall pick. The 10-time All-Star played for the Nuggets from 2003 to 2011.

“This means a lot,” Melo said of coming back to play in Denver.

This is where I spent my first seven and a half years here, right? So, I kind of grew up here in Denver with these people and this city. -- Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony  

When Thursday morning’s shootaround wrapped up, Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) was seen running two sets of stairs with Trail Blazers Sports and Performance Specialist Todd Forcier.    

 

From the looks of it, Nurk's rehab is coming along nicely. As of right now there is still no official timetable on his return. This is the first road trip Nurkic has been on with the Blazers since Portland's very first trip of the season in late October. 

With the Trail Blazers looking to even the season series up at one apiece vs. the Nuggets, Damian Lillard discussed how they plan to defend point-center Nikola Jokic.

I think you try to make him a scorer. It’s kind of like – not comparing him to LeBron [James]- but with LeBron you want him to be a scorer you don’t want him to be picking you apart, then scoring, and doing everything that he wants to do. Jokic, he’s a point-center, like, he’s facilitating everything and making them go, making all the plays.  -- Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard

“You don’t want to have him out here with 28 [points], 16 rebounds, and 14 assists because he’s capable of that. So I think just make him a scorer, try to take away the play-making,” Lillard added.

This season, Jokic is averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game.

Portland and Denver tip-off at 7:30p.m. PT on TNT.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles and videos from the players.

Should the Blazers sign up for the Iman Shumpert free trial?

Should the Blazers sign up for the Iman Shumpert free trial?

The Brooklyn Nets have waived guard Iman Shumpert to comply with the NBA's restraint of rostering 15 players ahead of forward Wilson Chandler's return to the team. Chandler's 25-game suspension for PED usage ends on Sunday. 

Now off of a team, Shumpert still desires to play.

Shumpert has averaged 4.2 points in 18.2 minutes per game for the Nets this season. The 6-foot-5 wing can still play at an NBA level. The Nets only released him out of necessity from their guaranteed contracts limiting roster spots. 

Given his release, teams will get the opportunity to put in a waiver claim for his services. Should the Blazers?

I think yes. 

In wake of letting Aminu walk, trading Harkless, Zach Collins' dislocated shoulder and Rodney Hood’s season-ending Achilles injury, the Blazers wing rotation needs upgrading. That much is clear if the Blazers want to remain competitive in the Western Conference until Collins and Nurkic return. With Hood’s injury, Hezonja has been reinserted into the rotation, and I believe Shumpert would be an upgrade over him. 

ESPN’s Bobby Marks said the Blazers are an option to claim Shumpert but the acquisition would increase Jody Allen’s tax bill.

However, given the open roster spot and the non-guarantee on Shumpert’s deal, the Blazers could add Shumpert without hurting any future roster flexibility until Shumpert’s deal becomes guaranteed the first week of January. 

Yes, his shooting splits have been bad: 32.4 percent overall, 24.2 percent from beyond the arc and 57.1 percent from the free throw line, but he’s a low risk solution to replacing Hezonja’s minutes with a more capable player. Hezonja's shooting splits are slightly better at 36.1 percent overall, 32.3 percent from beyond the arc and 81.2 percent from the free throw line. So if Shumpert proves to be worse than Hezonja, then the Blazers can cut him before his deal guarantees in January. 

Why not sign up for Shumpert’s free trial?

Rodney Hood’s wife shares heartfelt photos post Hood’s surgery

Rodney Hood’s wife shares heartfelt photos post Hood’s surgery

In a dark, injury-riddled time for the Portland Trail Blazers and after losing Rodney Hood to a season-ending Achilles injury, there is a bright, smiling face amidst this time and that smile comes from Hood himself.

Hood's wife Richa posted a few heartfelt photos to her personal Instagram following his surgery:

Today is the day! We’d like to thank everyone who reached out and sent their well wishes. We are grateful for the outpour of love and support! He’ll be back stronger than ever! Let the journey begin! -- Richa Hood

[RELATED]: Rodney Hood undergoes successful surgery to repair torn Achilles

Hood also spoke out thanking everyone who reached out to him to wish for a speedy, healthy recovery:

[RELATED]: Rodney Hood sends heartfelt message to Rip City

Best wishes to you Rodney, and keep that smile on your face!

Tenth Annual Trail Blazers Coat Drive: Giving back to the community

Tenth Annual Trail Blazers Coat Drive: Giving back to the community

The Portland Trail Blazers and Fred Meyer have teamed up for their tenth annual coat drive this December.

Trail Blazers fans are asked to fill donation bins at all participating Fred Meyers with new or gently used coats which will then be distributed to the Portland-Metro Boys and Girls Clubs.  

Over the weekend, Trail Blazers shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. helped 30 kids from the Portland-Metro Boys and Girls Clubs shop for new winter coats at the Fred Meyer in Beaverton.

We’re here to give back to the community. Fred Meyer, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Boys and Girls Club is here. I had the opportunity to come out with the kids, sign autographs, help them pick out warm coats for the wintertime and it’s a great thing. I’m blessed and I’m fortunate that I’m here.  -- Trail Blazers shooting guard Gary Trent Jr.

Not only did Trent Jr. go shopping with the kids to make sure all thirty kids received a winter coat, he also took time to take photos, shoot hoops, and draw pictures with the youngsters. 

Marlene Ascencio, the Director of the Portland-Metro Boys and Girls Clubs, explained the goal of Saturday's event was for all thirty members to go home with a brand new winter coat.

“Most of the kids that we serve are from low-income households or they just don’t have enough resources to purchase new winter coats… We have been doing this partnership between Fred Meyer and the Portland Trail Blazers for 10 years, we just want to say thank you so much for all of the support,” Ascencio said.  

Rehab update: Jusuf Nurkic running stairs in the Mile High City

Rehab update: Jusuf Nurkic running stairs in the Mile High City

DENVER -- While local Denver media, national media and reporters from Portland geared up to talk with Carmelo Anthony about his return to the Mile High City, off in the distance was a welcomed surprise.

After Thursday morning’s shootaround wrapped up, Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) was seen running two sets of stairs with Trail Blazers Sports and Performance Specialist Todd Forcier.    

The big fella was going hard. It wasn’t as if he was lightly jogging up the stairs.

And to think he’s getting his rehab and cardio in at the high altitude.

Nurkic was in good spirits after running the stairs. He was smiling and joking with his teammates as beads of sweat dripped down his face.

There is still no official timeline on Nurkic’s return. He had surgery in late March to repair a fractured tibia and fibula that he sustained versus the Brooklyn Nets. 

There has been some speculation that Nurkic could be back to the court as soon as January.

And after watching him run the Pepsi Center’s stairs Thursday, it looks like there might be some truth to that speculation. 

Rodney Hood sends heartfelt message to Rip City

Rodney Hood sends heartfelt message to Rip City

The Blazers were dealt a tough blow last week when starting small forward Rodney Hood went down with an injury against the Lakers. He left in the first quarter and would not return. It was later concluded that Hood had torn his left Achilles and would be out for the season.

Hood, the team, and the fans got a bit of good news on Wednesday - Hood underwent successful surgery to repair the injury. It was the first step in a long road to recovery. 

Following surgery, Hood took to social media to thank Blazers fans for all the love and support they have sent his way.

From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who sent prayers up for me. Today was a successful surgery and I’m excited about this process. Every text, call, post, edible arrangement, etc meant the world to me! The support has been unreal. One thing I’ve never done is ask Why. I know I’m built to get through this. All positive vibes this way! - Rodney Hood

Thousands of fans liked the post, and many of his NBA brothers reached out via Instagram to send their wishes his way. Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Jahlil Okafor, Baron Davis, Quinn Cook, Jeff Green, Robert Covington, and Elfrid Payton were just a few of the past and present NBA stars that sent him love. 

No timetable has been set for Hood's recovery, but regardless of how long it takes Rip City will keep sending him love. He can certainly feel it, and on Wednesday he made sure to send it right back.

Rodney Hood undergoes successful surgery to repair torn Achilles

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Rodney Hood undergoes successful surgery to repair torn Achilles

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Wednesday, veteran wing Rodney Hood has undergone successful surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles tendon.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute earlier today.

It was on December 6th in the Blazers loss to the Lakers when Hood suffered the injury at the 3:27 mark of the first quarter

As of right now, the Blazers are saying there is no timetable for Hood’s return to basketball activity.

[RELATED]: Fans and NBA players send their love to Rodney Hood 

This season in 21 games, the 27-year-old averaged 11.0 points 3.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.

Hood was having one of the best seasons of his career.  

His shooting percentage (50.6%), along with his three-point shooting percentage (49.3%) and rebounding average were all career highs.

 

CJ McCollum: Melo going to those other teams was “a blessing in disguise”

CJ McCollum: Melo going to those other teams was “a blessing in disguise”

Earlier this season, the Portland Trail Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony to a non-guaranteed, 1-year deal to upgrade their wing rotation. After a few weeks and one Western Conference Player of the Week Award later, the Blazers fully guaranteed his contract. 

But this wasn’t Melo’s first chance to play in a Blazers jersey. Trail Blazers stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have both gone on the record in prior offseasons to recruit the four-time gold medalist to Portland

McCollum recently joined Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes' Posted Up Podcast where Melo was discussed.

CJ talked about what Melo has brought to the team and how him passing up the Blazers in the past was “a blessing in disguise” for him.

I told him ‘you going to [Oklahoma City and Houston] was a blessing in disguise for you.’ Because your understanding and appreciation for the game changed. He had time to be with his family, he got invaluable time with his son....He had a full year to workout and spend time with his kid and kind of like reflect on life, and I think his appreciation of the game shifted, it changed, the way he plays now you can see he’s excited about the game.

Anthony is averaging 15.9 points per game and 5.6 rebounds in eleven games played for the Trail Blazers. His scoring and shooting ability has provided additional spacing on the floor for Lillard and McCollum to operate. He has also played with excellent energy following a season away from the game. 

Now with the season-ending injury to starting small forward Rodney Hood, Anthony will be called upon to an even greater extent for offensive production. Good thing his legs are fresh. 

The Portland Trail Blazers (10-15) continue their season Thursday night on the road against the Denver Nuggets (14-8) at 7:30pm PST

What a win vs. Denver can mean for the Trail Blazers' psyche

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What a win vs. Denver can mean for the Trail Blazers' psyche

The Trail Blazers have played a total of 25 games.

Of those 25, the Blazers have won 10.

Of those 10, the Blazers have just ONE win over a team with a winning record. (That was against the Dallas Mavericks on October 27th when Portland still had a healthy Zach Collins for three quarters of the game.)

That could change on Thursday night in Denver.

But it won’t be easy.

The Nuggets are currently 14-8 on the season, which puts them fifth in the Western Conference standings.

The good news for the Blazers: The Nuggets have lost five of their last six.

After easily defeating the New York Knicks Tuesday night, 115- 87, the Trail Blazers felt good about blowing out a team they were expected to blow out.  

“It’s good to have wins like this because it’s a team that we desire to beat, a team that is inferior to us, we want to go out there and take care of business and we did exactly that,” Kent Bazemore said Tuesday night.

Now as the Blazers shift their focus to Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets, former Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony offered up his thoughts on how significant it would be for the Blazers to come away with a win in the Mile High City.

It’s definitely an important game, being in the same conference, knowing what we’re trying to accomplish. You know those guys are coming in with a loss tonight, so I’m sure they’ll be ready in front of their home crowd. This will be a good one for us to go get on the road. -- Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony  

Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts gave his opinion on Thursday’s matchup:

“They’re the same team that we played in the playoffs; we are not the same team, so it’ll be different. They are a good team. They are the same team that took us to game seven and they are at their place so it will be a challenge.”

As of Thursday morning, the Trail Blazers were three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

The last the time Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum played in Denver was in their Game 7 victory back on May 12th, using that nostalgia could provide just enough boost for the Blazers to hand the Nuggets their third straight loss.
The Blazers know they are going to need to slow down Nikola Jokic.

Jokic is averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game.

In Portland and Denver's first meeting of the season, which also happened to be the Blazers regular season opener, Jokic had 20 points and 13 rebounds despite getting into early foul trouble.

In the loss, Damian Lillard led the Blazers with 32 points and eight assists, while Hassan Whiteside had 16 points and 19 rebounds in his debut as a Trail Blazer.

This is a must for Whiteside on Thursday:

The 7-footer will have to do his best to get a hand in Jokic’s face when the Joker is out on the three-point line.

The Blazers tip-off their two-game, six-day trip, at 7:30pm PT Thursday.