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mystery of nurk

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Dzon Dilindzer
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mystery of nurk 

Post#1 » by Dzon Dilindzer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:03 pm

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After Blazers lose again, Jusuf Nurkic is reluctant to offer hope on his return

INDIANAPOLIS — The longest game of hide-and-seek ended Thursday in Indianapolis.

Jusuf Nurkic, a victor for the past month by finding hiding places that protected him from the media, had been cornered inside the Trail Blazers’ locker room in Indiana. He smiled, knowing the gig was up.

“I have nothing to say,” the center told The Athletic, trying to squeeze out one more victory.

Some hope, some information, he was told, could go a long way these days with a fan base that has been deflated and discouraged by losses and injuries this season.

Reluctantly, Nurkic gave an exclusive interview, one that was tempered by his declaration that he is careful to boost spirits.

“It’s hard to give hope because there is no dates (for my return), so it’s hard to talk about anything,” Nurkic said. “I have no dates, so all the rumors, they don’t make sense. People are going to say (he’s coming back) today, tomorrow, next week, a week later … but I have no dates.”

The biggest hurdle standing between Nurkic and his return, he says, is being able to practice.

“All I know is I’m trying to figure out how I can get more practices, because we don’t have many practices,” Nurkic said. “That’s the only thing I can tell you. That’s the only reason I can come back: If I find somehow to practice.”

The shorthanded Blazers, who played valiantly against Indiana on Thursday but lost 106-100, are scheduled to practice Friday in Atlanta, but considering they have nine healthy bodies, it is not a given coach Terry Stotts will make the entire team run through a workout.

The next windows for certain practices are the second week of March, when the team has two consecutive off days on March 8-9 and March 13-14. Stotts almost always practices when the team has two or more consecutive days between games.

Nurkic returned to his first full-contact practice on Jan. 22, but in the aftermath he discovered he strained his right calf, which has limited his subsequent activity. Nurkic and the team have been tight-lipped about how much he has been able to do, when he has been able to do it and what — if any — progress is being made. It is unclear whether the Jan. 22 workout is his only practice or whether he has returned to workouts at all.

“I can’t tell you,” Nurkic said with a broad smile when asked what he is able to do today.

The issue he kept coming back to was returning to full-contact practice, during which he said he needs to run full court, bang into bodies and get acclimated to the speed of the game.

“Yeah, I can’t be out 11 months and just jump in a game; it doesn’t work out that way,” Nurkic said. “So, we’ll see. But I hope for the best. I’m not just sitting here. I’m working. We’ll see. That’s all I can tell you.”

Before any more questions could be asked, a member of the Trail Blazers’ communication staff ended the interview.

Nurkic’s return is among the more anticipated events remaining in this cruel season, which has sidelined starters Rodney Hood (Achilles), Zach Collins (shoulder) and, for the past four games, captain Damian Lillard (groin).

Stotts on Thursday said it is unknown whether Lillard will join the team in Orlando on Sunday, and Collins on Thursday continued to go through his pregame shooting routine, which he has done all of February. He reiterated after Thursday’s game that he intends to return to games sometime in March.

With each passing game, it is becoming more uncertain whether the returns of Lillard, Nurkic and Collins will matter in the Blazers’ pursuit of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The Blazers (26-34) are tied with New Orleans for ninth, three games behind Memphis.

An endearing element to this late-season struggle has been the team’s effort. It is clearly overmatched on a near-nightly basis, but almost every night it is just as clear that the effort and fight remain. Thursday against Indiana (35-24) was no different, when the Blazers pulled within 103-100 with 30 seconds left only to watch Indiana center Myles Turner hit a 3-pointer off a broken play with 9.1 seconds remaining.

“It’s frustrating,” Trevor Ariza said of giving effort only to lose. “But the thing about the NBA is you have 82 of them …”

He was reminded that, actually, there are only 22 games left this season.

“Twenty-two … ****,” Ariza said. “Running out of time. So, we have to kick it into gear where we don’t have these type of games where we give great effort but the effort doesn’t end in the results we are looking for.”

The season might very well be determined in the upcoming stretch. The Blazers’ next seven games are against teams with losing records (at Atlanta, at Orlando, Washington, at Phoenix, Sacramento, Phoenix and Memphis). The Blazers probably have to win at least five of those seven to give themselves a chance.

“We already understand the position we are in,” Ariza said. “We just have to figure it out. It sounds easy, but it’s not. We have the personnel in here to do it — we have to continue to stay confident, stay together and chip away.”

Jason Quick - The Athletic

why are the blazers so mysterious about this whole situation, i cannot comprehend it

remember when terry stotts said nurk suffered mild calf strain (7-10 days recovery time), but its been a month since that injury happened, so its looking more likely its grade II calf strain (4-6 weeks recovery time)

im really pissed at how the blazers are handling this situation... go out publicly and let the fans know how the things stand, this whole mysterious sitation is really annoying, like really really annoying
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#2 » by Sinobas » Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:11 pm

He's a blazer big man. He's Jusuf Bill/Sam/Arvydas/Greg Nurkic. Any blazer big man that's worth a damn won't stay healthy.

Good thing we didn't invest a lot of money in this guy. It's been over a year since he broke his leg and he still hasn't seen the court. Broken bones take 6 months to heal at most.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#3 » by Dzon Dilindzer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 2:33 pm

actually its been 11 months since the injury and shortly after nurk suffered that injury, there was logical assumption hes going to be back after all-star break, but then a month ago he suffered calf strain injury (setback is normal when youre coming back after long layoff), so if calf injury didnt happened, he would probably be back by now, given he started full contact practices in late january (10 months after injury), so a couple weeks of that would be enough to assess the situation

it took 8 months for paul george to come back and nurk is a lot heavier than him, so it requires more time to recover
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#4 » by DaVoiceMaster » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:21 pm

Maybe the Blazers are trying to decide whether to have him come back at all. If the season is lost, why hurry him back? The team is kind of at that point where they will either move forward or fall back. There are a lot of teams hanging around where the Blazers currently are and with so many injuries, it may be insurmountable to get that 8th spot. If that is the case, there is no hurry in bringing Nurkic back.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#5 » by Dzon Dilindzer » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:35 pm

neil olshey said after trade deadline, that nurk coming back will be best mid-season trade

but then again, we all know neil olshey is great at selling stories, so ill take it with a grain of salt
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#6 » by ebott » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:39 pm

I hopeful this is part of a tanking strategy.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#7 » by d-train » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:25 pm

Dzon Dilindzer wrote:why are the blazers so mysterious about this whole situation, i cannot comprehend it....

im really pissed at how the blazers are handling this situation... go out publicly and let the fans know how the things stand, this whole mysterious sitation is really annoying, like really really annoying


There is no mystery. Nurkic and Collins have long term injuries and neither have a scheduled return date. The team and the players aren't going to make the season about the daily progress of injuries. This is obvious by the team's previous statements and the recent statements by Nurkic. The story is, the healthy players are fighting for an 8th seed in the playoffs. We haven't been mathematically eliminated but we are on the outside trying to get in. Our healthy players will determine the team's fate. There is no anticipation that Nurk or Collins is going to rescue the team.

This might frustrate you, but it is the smartest way for Blazers to proceed. So, you can at least be assured the Blazers are managing the situation the best possible way.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#8 » by Wizenheimer » Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:30 pm

there's really not much of a mystery as long as you're comfortable reading between the lines:

* Rodney Hood was experiencing pain in his Achilles. But the medical staff cleared him to play anyway, even though just about the last type of injury that should be risked is an Achilles injury. Those injuries always alter careers and not in a good way. This clearance came 5 years after Wesley Mathews was cleared to play, even though he, like Hood, was having Achilles pain. And it came just months after an unhealthy Durant ruptured his achilles. The medical staff took a lot of heat for their decision on Hood

* Nurkic is cleared for his first 5-on-5 practice and pulls a calf muscle in that practice. That was Jan 22 IIRC. The Blazers decide to minimize the severity of the injury in their statements, and enforce a blackout on information. Clearly, after the Hood situation Portland was in ass-covering mode. Was Nurkic cleared to play because of some artificial timeline related to the calendar and not his recovery?...think about all the rumors about him coming back around the time of the all-star game. Was he practicing full court before he was ready?

I think it's obvious the calf strain was more severe than the Blazers implied. Now, it's possible they didn't know at the time how severe it was, but all the subsequent dodging and deflection make that possibility less credible.

it's also possible that management is starting to believe entering the lottery may be more attractive than entering the playoffs as an 8th seed and facing another potential sweep to end the season
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#9 » by Matt800 » Sat Feb 29, 2020 6:24 pm

Wizenheimer wrote:
Spoiler:
there's really not much of a mystery as long as you're comfortable reading between the lines:

* Rodney Hood was experiencing pain in his Achilles. But the medical staff cleared him to play anyway, even though just about the last type of injury that should be risked is an Achilles injury. Those injuries always alter careers and not in a good way. This clearance came 5 years after Wesley Mathews was cleared to play, even though he, like Hood, was having Achilles pain. And it came just months after an unhealthy Durant ruptured his achilles. The medical staff took a lot of heat for their decision on Hood

* Nurkic is cleared for his first 5-on-5 practice and pulls a calf muscle in that practice. That was Jan 22 IIRC. The Blazers decide to minimize the severity of the injury in their statements, and enforce a blackout on information. Clearly, after the Hood situation Portland was in ass-covering mode. Was Nurkic cleared to play because of some artificial timeline related to the calendar and not his recovery?...think about all the rumors about him coming back around the time of the all-star game. Was he practicing full court before he was ready?

I think it's obvious the calf strain was more severe than the Blazers implied. Now, it's possible they didn't know at the time how severe it was, but all the subsequent dodging and deflection make that possibility less credible.

it's also possible that management is starting to believe entering the lottery may be more attractive than entering the playoffs as an 8th seed and facing another potential sweep to end the season


Nurkic recently said a big part of it was having enough practices to be game ready. An issue is that the team rarely practices, so it will take time before he gets enough practices in to be ready. I don't think his calf strain was very severe. He was seen walking around without any assistance days after that was reported.

It is interesting how Nurkic seems to be more restricted from talking to media about his condition and return. For example, Lillard gave his opinion on his own injury timeline of 3-5 games. It doesn't seem like all injuries/players are handled in the same way. I imagine a year long injury for Nurkic has something to do with it, and needing more practice time to get adjusted to playing games again.

You could be right that if the portland medical staff has had heat on them, justified or not, that may have influenced how they handle their injury reports. But probably more likely is that has been their general protocol for minimizing issues and maximizing their flexibility.

Collins' reevaluation day is coming up. He had surgery on Nov 5th and a 4 month timeline to reevaluation so that would be March 5th. That injury generally takes people closer to 6 months to recover from, so hopefully everyone involved is careful.
"Between four and six months, he can return to full activity and get to the point where he feels like he didn’t have surgery.” “four months is on the short end of that,” Dines said. “I would typically wait five to six months before clearing somebody for full activity.”

https://www.blazersedge.com/2019/11/9/20956621/trail-blazers-injury-news-zach-collins-labrum-surgery-details-timeline-timetable-return
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#10 » by monopoman » Sat Feb 29, 2020 11:24 pm

Does he have to practice with the team? I figure they could find some other players that he could practice with, obviously practicing with the team is ideal but I always viewed it as not necessary. Especially in a case where a guy is just trying to get back into game shape after missing almost a year of NBA action.

A lot of players in the off-season practice or play pickup games with guys that are past their prime or no longer in the NBA.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#11 » by Matt800 » Sun Mar 1, 2020 12:45 am

monopoman wrote:Does he have to practice with the team? I figure they could find some other players that he could practice with, obviously practicing with the team is ideal but I always viewed it as not necessary. Especially in a case where a guy is just trying to get back into game shape after missing almost a year of NBA action.

A lot of players in the off-season practice or play pickup games with guys that are past their prime or no longer in the NBA.


From what I've read it sounds like they want/need to do it with the team. I think at least part of it is getting in a rhythm with the team. But yeah it seems like there should be other options as well.

The team will have a window to get in multiple practices during the second week of March when they are scheduled to have two consecutive off days on both March 8-9 and March 13-14.

“All I know is I’m trying to figure out how I can get more practices, because we don’t have many practices,” Nurkic told The Athletic. “That’s the only thing I can tell you. That’s the only reason I can come back: If I find somehow to practice.”

https://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/2020/02/portland-trail-blazers-center-jusuf-nurkic-says-there-is-still-no-set-date-for-his-return-report.html
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#12 » by d-train » Sun Mar 1, 2020 3:45 am

I don't believe Nurk needs practice. He needs to test his leg in real competition. Real competition can be practice or any scrimmage that resembles a real game. They could just put him into a game. Or, because his first test resulted in a calf strain, maybe they would rather not bring him back this season. I assume x-rays show his bone if fully healed and his conditioning is as good as possible given activity restrictions. There is no right or wrong way to bring him back.

Olshey says they are going to be cautious with their injured players, whatever that means. I think I would be more cautious with Zach's shoulder than Nurk's leg. There is less of a chance of Nurk re-breaking his leg than there is of Collins re-injuring his shoulder.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#13 » by d-train » Sun Mar 1, 2020 3:57 am

I just checked the timeline with Nurk's calf injury and statements about personnel. I believe Blazers plan to bring Nurkic back sometime this year. They will do it when they are ready.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#14 » by JasonVincent » Sun Mar 1, 2020 6:01 am

To me it's clear that Nurk will not play this season. The team basically gave up the race for playoff this year and so there will be no need for Nurk to step foot on the court again. At one point we probably will hear news about Lillard aggravating his injury and sitting out for the rest of the season. That will be the official tank flag
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#15 » by monopoman » Sun Mar 1, 2020 6:09 am

JasonVincent wrote:To me it's clear that Nurk will not play this season. The team basically gave up the race for playoff this year and so there will be no need for Nurk to step foot on the court again. At one point we probably will hear news about Lillard aggravating his injury and sitting out for the rest of the season. That will be the official tank flag

I think they will have a hard time convincing Lillard of that when we are still in position to potentially be the 8th seed. He seems to be a very intense competitor and likely wouldn't like management telling him to pack it up. Maybe they could convince him of it if we were at the bottom of the West or something and we would have to win every game remaining to have a playoff shot.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#16 » by d-train » Sun Mar 1, 2020 6:53 am

monopoman wrote:
JasonVincent wrote:To me it's clear that Nurk will not play this season. The team basically gave up the race for playoff this year and so there will be no need for Nurk to step foot on the court again. At one point we probably will hear news about Lillard aggravating his injury and sitting out for the rest of the season. That will be the official tank flag

I think they will have a hard time convincing Lillard of that when we are still in position to potentially be the 8th seed. He seems to be a very intense competitor and likely wouldn't like management telling him to pack it up. Maybe they could convince him of it if we were at the bottom of the West or something and we would have to win every game remaining to have a playoff shot.

I agree Blazers aren't going to stop playing to win, and playoffs are an expectation until they are mathematically out. Nurkic's return is a separate question. Olshey was clearly planning on Nurkic's return after his calf injury. Plans can change but I don't know why playoff elimination would change the date of Nurkic's return. The best time to bring Nurkic back is the soonest he is ready.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#17 » by Matt800 » Sun Mar 1, 2020 7:35 am

https://www.nbcsports.com/northwest/portland-trail-blazers/talkin-blazers-podcast-nurk-alert-and-panic-button-update

Channing Frye is confident Nurkic won't be back this season. He says guys need 5 practices to feel good coming back from an injury like that, and that would be early April. And that people within the team would be giving more information if Nurkic were coming back sometime soon.

It sounds like a return is based on having successful full practices. Nurkic had one which was reported and then had a setback. Looking at the schedule since the setback on Jan 22nd, there haven't been many times where there have been 2+ days off.
Jan 24-25, 27-28, Feb 2-3, and the Allstar break. So 3 practices within 10 days of his setback, and he might have missed all of them. I'm not sure if they practice around the allstar breaks, so he might be at 0 practices or 1.

They could potentially practice during these stretches: March 8-9, 13-14, 20-21, 31-1, Apr 3-4, 10-12. So April 2nd would be the earliest most likely.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#18 » by DaVoiceMaster » Sun Mar 1, 2020 7:43 am

I would think Nurk will return, but I think it will still be a few weeks. I think he/they would like maybe 10 games under his belt by the end of the season. I do not expect Collins or Hood to come back this season.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#19 » by monopoman » Sun Mar 1, 2020 10:54 pm

Yeah, I think Nurk wants to at least get 10-15 games this season it will help him prepare more for next season. Even if this team is struggling heavily he will likely play 15 or 20 minutes a game for the last 10-15 games of the season.

Nurk hasn't played an NBA game since March 25th, 2019 in 24 days he will have not played a single NBA game in 365 days exactly. That is a ridiculous amount of time to be out and it really takes more effort to come back the longer you are on the sidelines. Actually with the leap year this year it will only take 23 days until it's a full calendar year.
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Re: mystery of nurk 

Post#20 » by zzaj » Sun Mar 1, 2020 11:10 pm

I imagine it'd be good for Nurkic's psyche to get a few games in so that he can unequivocally put the "I can actually play this sport again, competitively" question out of his mind for good. But I don't think he'd have much of an impact in the W/L column. We've seen how long it takes players with this type of injury to return to prior form. We may not see Nurkic playing up to the way he played prior to his last injury until well into next season. Of course, he may never be the same after that injury, but I wouldn't count on that.

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