In his two and a half seasons with the Trail Blazers, Jusuf Nurkic has become a Portland favorite, revered for the toughness he's brought to the team (and his wacky coffee commercial).
In his native Bosnia, though, Nurkic is something approaching a national folk hero. He even has his own theme song.
So when the big man went down Monday night with a gruesome, season-ending broken leg, it reverberated far beyond Rip City, and even the NBA.
Back in Bosnia, fans at a soccer game sent a message of support. During a match between the Bosnian and Greek national teams, the home crowd began chanting Nurkic's name:
As every basketball fan knows by now, Nurkic, 24, suffered a compound fracture to his left tibia and fibula in the second overtime of a game against the Brooklyn Nets on March 25. The fourth-year center was in the midst of a career season, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The injury sparked reaction from around the league. Teammate Damian Lillard referred to Nurkic as his "little big brother," while Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo, himself laid up with a season-ending injury, tweeted words of encouragement.
Nurkic underwent successful surgery on his leg Tuesday. It revealed no muscle or nerve damage, which means a successful recovery is likely. He has no timetable for return.