Blazers Jusuf Nurkic suffers serious leg injury, out for rest of season

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, center, was injured and left the court on a stretcher as the Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets in double overtime, 148-144, during an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Monday, March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Randy L. Rasmussen)

Portland Trail Blazer Jusuf Nurkic was taken off the court in a stretcher Monday night after suffering a serious injury to his left leg during a game at the Moda Center.

In a news release early Tuesday morning, the Trail Blazers said the star center suffered compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula and will be out for the rest of the season. The team didn't know when he'll return to play.

The team says Nurkic underwent surgery Tuesday and is expected to make a "full recovery."

Nurkic was hurt when his leg bent awkwardly as he battled for an offensive rebound. His leg was immobilized and he was removed on a stretcher while surrounded by members of both teams. He was then transferred to a local hospital.

The Blazers beat the Brooklyn Nets 148 to 144 in double overtime, clinching a playoff berth, but Nurkic's injury could be devastating for the rest of the Blazers’ season.

The center was having an outstanding game before the injury, scoring 32 points and pulling down 16 rebounds.

Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts called the injury "devastating."

The Blazers held a collective moment of silence and prayer for Nurkic in the locker room following the game.

"I just don't know what to say, man," said center Enes Kanter. "It's definitely tough, but I know the way his mentality is he's definitely going to come back stronger."

"You never want to see that for your friend or your teammate," said guard Damian Lillard. "Especially as a player, you don't want to see him go through that. It's also going to be hard on our team."

The Nets, who watched guard Caris LeVert wheeled off the court after an injury earlier this season, had the same concern for Nurkic.

"That's what our guys are talking about in the locker room," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said." Not the game or the loss. They're talking about a player who was having a great game and a heck of a player so you just pray it's not a long-term thing and he can bounce back. It just takes the wind out of your sails."

The Blazers are already without starting shooting guard CJ McCollum.

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