PORTLAND — Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic exited on a stretcher after suffering an apparent severe left leg injury in double overtime against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
Nurkic was jumping for a rebound and came down awkwardly in a tangle of bodies under the basket. After hitting the ground, the Nets players around him saw the severity of the injury and sprinted away.
The arena quickly went into a hush as Blazers medical personnel quickly rushed to Nurkic. A stretcher was immediately called and with the help of a few Blazers — Damian Lillard, Rodney Hood and Al-Farouq Aminu — the 7-foot Bosnian was loaded onto it.
Portland coach Terry Stotts called the injury “devastating” but wouldn’t say more on Nurkic’s condition beyond that he was taken to a local area hospital.
It’s a crushing blow to the Blazers, who have been surging in recent weeks despite a knee injury to CJ McCollum that has sidelined him the past couple weeks.
Behind Nurkic the Blazers have Enes Kanter, who was signed after being waived by the New York Knicks, and Zach Collins.
Nurkic, 24, is averaging 15.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in 71 games this season. He finished Monday’s game, a 148-144 Portland win to clinch a playoff berth, with 32 points and 16 rebounds before exiting.
“It’s tough man. To see one of your brothers going down like that — I just don’t know what to say,” Kanter said after the game. “But tonight I’m just going to go home and pray for him, man. Because this is way bigger than basketball. We clinched the playoff but we cannot even celebrate it. … He was a big part of our family. Not our team, our family.”
Kanter added that the team held a moment of silence for Nurkic.
“Nobody could really say anything,” he said.