Jusuf Nurkic Breaks Wrist vs. Pacers

The Portland Trail Blazers were dealt a blow on Thursday night, when Jusuf Nurkic fractured his right wrist while making swiping at a Pacers offensive player:

There is no timetable on Nurkic’s return, but players miss an average of 16 games when surgery isn’t required, and 30 games when undergoing corrective surgery. After a slow start, Nurkic had started to come on of late, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds in the five games before he suffered the injury. Most importantly, he served as the backdrop of a defense that is focused on becoming more aggressive, adding more ball-pressure and switching than any other season under coach Terry Stotts’ tenure.

Now the Trail Blazers turn to backup Enes Kanter and newcomer Harry Giles. Kanter is still an elite rebounder, but struggles on the defensive end. Giles has showed electric flashes on offense, but also is prone to defensive lapses. If nothing else, this increases the likelihood that Portland will revert back to a conservative defensive scheme in the near term.

With Nurkic now all but guaranteed to miss his games played financial bonus, Portland has enough room to sign an additional big man to a vet minimum contract while staying under the luxury tax.

Beyond the impact to the team, it’s a tough break for Nurkic personally, who was only able to play in 20 regular season games after returning from the broken leg injury he suffered to seasons ago. Damian Lillard summed it up best: