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The Journal Gazette

  • FILE - In this March 25, 2017, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic drives to the basket on Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore. The Blazers upgraded Nurkic to doubtful for Game 3 of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have a 2-0 lead in the series, which shifts to Portland on Saturday night, April 22. Nurkic missed the final seven games of the regular season and the first two playoff games at Golden State because of a nondisplaced fracture in his right leg. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes, File)

Friday, April 21, 2017 6:19 pm

Blazers big man Nurkic upgraded to 'doubtful' for Game 3

By ANNE M. PETERSON

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Portland Trail Blazers upgraded center Jusuf Nurkic to doubtful for Game 3 of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors have a 2-0 lead in the series, which shifts to Portland on Saturday night.

Nurkic missed the final seven games of the regular season and the first two playoff games at Golden State because of a nondisplaced fracture in his right leg.

But there has been speculation the 7-footer known as the Bosnian Beast could return for the playoffs because he has been shooting around in warmups with the team.

Nurkic, traded to Portland on Feb. 12 from the Denver Nuggets, was averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 20 games with the Blazers.

He is credited with helping Portland's post-All-Star break surge, when the team went 18-8 following the break and finished at .500. With the big man in the starting lineup, Portland was 14-5.

The absence of Nurkic has hurt the Blazers in the playoffs, giving Portland fewer weapons against Warriors starting center Zaza Pachulia and primary backup David West.

Nurkic became the first Trail Blazer to average 15-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in his first 20 games with the team since Mychal Thompson in 1978.