Trail Blazers Big Man Out For Extended Absence

The Portland Trail Blazers stripped things down at the trade deadline, getting rid of most of their serviceable veterans. Except, that is, for center Jusuf Nurkic. The big man has
been playing the best ball of his season recently, as he helped lead Portland to an unexpected (and unwanted?) 4-game win streak heading into the All-Star Break, averaging 21.5 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists over that span. 

Today, the Blazers announced that Nurkic will sit out the next four weeks with plantar fasciitis, the condition in his heel that he's been dealing with all season long.

Wins vs. Lottery chances—that is the Blazers' quandary

Could it be that the ping pong ball-chasing Trail Blazers decided that maybe Nurkic's hot streak was a little too hot for their liking at this stage of the season, leading to the decision to shut him down for a while? That's apparently what The Athletic's Jason Quick is thinking. 

"Probably smart move to ensure high draft pick, but also kind of a bummer because it sure was fun watching the last four games," writes Quick. He also noted that veteran Eric Bledsoe, who they acquired at the deadline, has also come down with a curious case of "Achilles tendinopathy", taking him out of the lineup as well.

While they currently sit 10th in the West, it's fairly obvious they have no intentions of truly vying for a Play-In spot. 

Photo Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports