Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) fouls Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is no longer listed on the team’s injury report which means he will return to action Sunday night against Miami.
Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said following the team’s win Saturday against Detroit that he would consider starting Enes Kanter should Nurkic remain on a minutes restriction, which he has been on since his return March 26th from a broken wrist.
Nurkic missed the team’s loss Tuesday at the Los Angeles Clippers because of knee inflammation, and then returned for Thursday’s loss at Utah. Nurkic then sat out of Blazers’ win against Detroit as a precautionary measure because it was the first of a back-to-back that concludes Sunday night with the Heat.
Kanter had his best game of the season, and maybe ever, against the Pistons scoring 24 points with a team single-game record 30 rebounds.
The Blazers won 125-122 at Miami on March 25 but Sunday night’s game will feature a vastly different cast of characters.
The Heat were without their best player, Jimmy Butler, as well as Goran Dragic and newly acquired guard Victor Oladipo. Portland was without center Jusuf Nurkic and had yet to acquire guard Norman Powell in a trade with Toronto.
Oladipo is out for Sunday night with knee soreness but Butler and Dragic will play. The Heat have won five of seven games since losing to the Blazers. Butler during that stretch has averaged 22.6 points, 6.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 53 of 93 (56.9%) from the field.
“They’re a tough team, the way they play,” Stotts said. “We didn’t have Nurk, we didn’t have Normal. So, both teams have some guys that didn’t play in that game. They’ve changed their team a little bit but their style of play at both ends hasn’t changed.”
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Heat: Gabe Vincent (right knee; soreness) is probable; Tyler Herro (right foot; soreness) is questionable; Victor Oladipo (right knee; soreness) and KZ Okpala (health and safety protocols) are out.
The Blazers host Boston on Tuesday then go on the road for two games starting Friday at San Antonio and ending Sunday at Charlotte.
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