Trail Blazers

Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum hit the practice court for first time following injuries

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. 

Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr. Harry Giles, and Rodney Hood have all missed time due to injury. 

Even Damian Lillard had to sit out a game against the Knicks while dealing with an abdominal strain. 

But no injuries have been longer, and more impactful than the injuries to CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).

Collins, the team's starting power forward last season, is still on the mend. There is no timetable for his return, though he hopes to return by season's end. As for McCollum and Nurkic, they are inching closer back to the court. 

The team hit the practice court on Friday, and for the first time in a long time, Nurkic and McCollum hit the court with them. 

While the pair did not participate in five-on-five drills, they did get some shots up, and Nurkic was seen hitting the agility ladder.

McCollum did not go full speed on the ladder in the video, but he is just three days removed from having his protective boot taken off. 

McCollum will be re-evaluated in two weeks, while Nurkic does not have a defined date for return yet. However, he did tell KOIN's AJ McCord that “it’s a good thing the second half of the season is coming really soon," a possible hint at his return.

 

The NBA All-Star break starts on March 5 and the second half of season begins on March 11, meaning Nurk's return could be just weeks away as well.

The Blazers haven't had both Nurkic and McCollum on the court together since January 14. Portland has played 15 games without either of them in the lineup. Fortunately, the MVP play of Damian Lillard has helped keep the Blazers afloat, and Portland has gone 10-5 in those games. 

Portland is playing well, but there is no question the team is better with two of its three best players on the court. 

If the Trail Blazers are fourth in the West without Nurkic and McCollum, we can only imagine how good they will be when they return. If Friday's video is an indication, we may find out the answer in the near future.