Report: Jusuf Nurkic Targeting Mid-February Return from Leg Injury

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2019

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic celebrates a 3-pointer by a teammate during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers might get a significant boost from Jusuf Nurkic's return near the All-Star break. 

Per The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania on Thursday, Nurkic is "making positive strides" rehabbing his fractured leg and has targeted a February return to the Blazers. 

Nurkic has been out since he suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula during a March 25 game against the Brooklyn Nets last season. 

Portland general manager Neil Olshey planned for a lengthy absence from Nurkic this year by acquiring Hassan Whiteside from the Miami Heat as part of a four-team trade in July. 

There have been signs that Nurkic has made progress recently, including when Blazers tweeted video footage Dec. 8 of his shooting free throws during practice. 

Injuries have played a huge part in Portland's 10-15 start. The team has lost Rodney Hood for the season to a ruptured Achilles, and Zach Collins may miss the rest of the year after dislocating his shoulder during an Oct. 27 game against the Dallas Mavericks

If the Blazers can hang around in the playoff race for two more months, Nurkic's return could be the spark they need to take off. He was having the best year of his career in 2018-19 before injuring his leg. The Bosnian Beast averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game last season.