Blazer fans donate to Nurkic recovery billboard

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Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic (27) shoots during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Trail Blazer fans across the West raised more than $10,000 in about 36 hours through crowdfunding to send a giant get-well-soon card to injured center Jusuf Nurkic.

Al Nelson of Portland set up a page on Tuesday, March 26, to raise $8,000 for a billboard wishing the “Bosnian Beast” a speedy recovery from the fractured left tibia and fibula Nurkic suffered in Monday night’s double-overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets. The gruesome injury required surgery and Nurkic will miss the rest of the season and the playoffs.

“It’s going to be hard on our team,” guard Damian Lillard said in a hushed Portland locker room after the March 25 game. “Every way you look at it, it’s a blow.”

Nelson wrote on the GoFundMe page that he wanted the 24-year-old NBA player to feel the love from fans as he recovered from the injury. “Our big fella gives his whole heart to Rip City night in night out,” Nelson wrote. “We Blazer fans want to show him that same love as he starts the healing process after a devastating injury.”

Less than two days later, the campaign had scooped up $10,422 from 467 people who contributed mostly small donations of between $5 and $25. A few $50 donations were sprinkled in the mix.

“I can’t tell you how cool it us for all the fans to come together to send love to Jusuf,” Nelson wrote.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN 6 News media partner.

Money raised in the campaign will pay for a billboard that Nelson said will be “a public symbol of all the appreciation and love we have for Nurk on and off the court.” The billboard could be placed near the Moda Center and the Rose Quarter, he wrote, and could be up for four weeks.

Any leftover funds will go to the Blazers Boys and Girls Club in Portland, Nelson wrote.

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