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Trail Blazers' Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury, ending his season

Jusuf Nurkic
Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts after suffering an apparent broken leg against the Brooklyn Nets in double overtime during their game at Moda Center on March 25, 2019, in Portland, Oregon. Getty

Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a gruesome, season-ending leg injury during the team's double overtime win over the Nets Monday night. NBA players rallied in support of Nurkic on social media as news of the horrendous injury surfaced.

During the 2:22 mark in the second overtime, Nurkic jumped for a rebound and landed awkwardly on his leg. An NBA referee appeared to lightly graze Nurkic's foot. The NBA star immediately grabbed his leg and had to be carted off the floor.

The Blazers announced early Tuesday that Nurkic sustained compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula. There's no timetable for his return to basketball activity.

Graphic video of the injury showed coaches and players in disbelief after Nurkic's fall. Blazers coach Terry Stotts called it "devastating."

"It made me sick to my stomach," Blazers star guard Damian Lillard told reporters after the game. "As I was walking over there, I saw everyone else turn around real quick and walk away, and then I look and I saw his leg."

Before the injury, Nurkic scored 32 points and hauled in 16 rebounds, helping his team clinch its sixth straight playoff berth.

Players throughout the NBA sent their good wishes to Nurkic on Twitter.

The injury echoed a similar one that Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George suffered in 2015 when he broke his leg. Dr. Robert Klapper, an orthopedic surgeon who has an ESPN Radio show, explained in a series of tweets that Nurkic will likely come back stronger because of callus that will form to heal the fracture in his tibia.

Nurkic was in midst of the best season of his career. In 72 games this season, he averaged career highs of 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.00 steal to go with 1.40 blocks. He ranks 15th in the NBA in rebounding and 16th in blocks.

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