Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic “upgraded” to doubtful for Game 3 against Warriors

Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is unlikely for Game 3 against the Warriors on Saturday night. But unlikely is better than out. Nurkic’s status was “upgraded” to doubtful, Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters in Portland on Friday.

The Blazers are in desperate need of a boost as they head back to Portland trailing 2-0, having been battered around in a 29-point Game 2 loss despite the absence of Kevin Durant.

Nurkic, who is trying to recover from a late-season fractured leg, would give the Blazers a jolt of life from an otherwise lifeless frontcourt. Meyers Leonard and Noah Vonleh, Nurkic’s backups, have been brutal in the first two games of the series, forcing Stotts to go with non-center lineups throughout long portions of Game 2.

But Nurkic is doubtful and, with the overmatched Blazers facing daunting odds in this series against the top-seeded Warriors, extra rest and cautiousness may be the wiser way to handle their 22-year-old building block.

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