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Jusuf Nurkic plans to return to lineup Friday vs. Magic

Trail Blazers big man has been sidelined since January with a fractured wrist.

Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Moda Center on March 19, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers C Jusuf Nurkic plans to return to the lineup for Friday’s game vs. the Orlando Magic. Nurkic has been sidelined since January after suffering a fractured wrist that required surgery. He started in all 12 games prior to the injury. Nurkic missed most of last season after breaking his leg the year prior. It’s been a tough road back for Nurk, but he’s finally ready to get into the lineup.

With Nurkic back in the lineup, we’ll see how this impacts the Blazers rotation. Portland just traded for G Norman Powell, sending G Gary Trent and G Rodney Hood to the Raptors. Powell should slot into the starting lineup at SF or come off the bench as the 6th man. Nurkic will likely return as the starting center with Enes Kanter heading back to the bench. Nurkic will likely be on a minutes restriction in his first game back.

The Blazers appear primed to make a run in the West. The additions of Powell and return of CJ McCollum and Nurkic are big boosts to the lineup. Portland played well despite the injuries and has plenty to compete in the loaded Western Conference. That’s the issue — the conference is just loaded, especially after the Denver Nuggets acquired JaVale McGee and Aaron Gordon before the deadline on Thursday.