The Portland Trailblazers won the battle against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night. However, they lost the war when starting center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a broken leg during the second overtime of the 148-144 win.
With 2:22 remaining in the second overtime session, Nurkic battled for a tip-in offensive rebound. He came down on Jared Dudley’s foot and his ankle snapped from the awkward landing. Players immediately scattered away from the gruesome injury. The medical staff had to cover up the leg before they eventually carted Nurkic off the floor.
The 7-foot center was having one of his best seasons ever in the NBA. He averaged 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. Nurkic also shot slightly better than 50 percent from the field. It was his third straight season where he accomplished that feat. Nurkic only missed one game this season. He started in 72 of the 73 games on the Blazers’ schedule and became a critical piece to their success on the court.
Moreover, Nurkic was playing great last night. He produced 32 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists in 33 minutes. Unfortunately, his dominant performance won’t be remembered in any positive fashion. Instead of going into the NBA playoffs on a high note, Nurkic has a long road ahead in his recovery. The devastating injury is going to hinder his performance next season as well.
The Blazers (46-27) clinched a playoff berth with a win. They currently control the No. 4 seed in the western conference. The Nets dropped to (38-37) and remained in the No. 7 spot in the eastern conference.
Nurkic is 24-years-old. He was really coming into his own and seemed to be headed towards playing like an all-star in the future. He is averaging 11.6 points and 8 rebounds through five NBA seasons.