The wait is almost over.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Jusuf Nurkic is targeting March 15th return date against the Houston Rockets at Moda Center.
Nurkic told Yahoo Sports, “It’s time.”
BREAKING NEWS: Nearly a year after gruesome leg injury, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic tells Yahoo Sports he will make his season debut March 15 against the Houston Rockets: “It’s time.” https://t.co/ZkfIXYLI8Y pic.twitter.com/COUjpPGG9o— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 6, 2020
It has been almost a year since the Trail Blazers center suffered a devastating left leg injury.
It was on Mar. 25, 2019 when Nurk suffered a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula late in a home game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Prior to the injury, the Trail Blazers big man averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds, both of which were career-highs.
Eager to get on the court, Nurkic is just ready to help this team's final push, “I’m ready to help my team make the playoffs,” said Nurkic.
The Bosnian Beast has been ramping up his workouts over the past couple of months with his first official practice back in late January, and Blazers fans have been eagerly awaiting his return.
Nurkic talked with Haynes about not only getting cleared by medical staff but also what has gone into his decision on when to return.
“I felt all the pressure in the world because of how well we’ve played the last three years as a team. At the end of the day, I gave what I had for the fans and the team. I wanted to play before anyone else wanted me to play, but this was the first time in my career that I could fully heal. I didn’t want to regret it later if I got out there too early. I always put the team first. Everything happens for a reason.” - Jusuf Nurkic
Nurkic continued, “It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve been there before. There were struggles and fun times, but mainly during my rehab I was focused on how I could get back to normal. How I can get the reps in to make sure I’m preparing myself properly. It’s been a crazy year with so many emotions, but I’m glad it’s finally time.”
Nurkic has been out for nearly a year and there have been setbacks along the way.
After returning to full-contact practice in January, Nurkic suffered a right calf strain, delaying his return to the court even further. But, as Nurkic said, it’s time.
“I worked my ass off to be in position to get back on the court and help my team, but game speed is going to be different,” Nurkic told Yahoo Sports.
“I’m not going to be playing 40 minutes. But for me, mentally, I need to get these reps in before I can play [extended minutes]. Physically, I’m good. “I never doubted I’d be back, but I had to make sure I was 100 percent. I can’t wait for [March 15].”