Kanter of the Blazers is uncertain for the Western semifinals



PORTLAND, Oregon. – Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter said Friday that he has a separate left shoulder and that his status for the Western Conference semifinals remains uncertain.

Kanter said the injury occurred during Portland's victory in the 118-115 series against Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The Blazers returned to practice on Friday while waiting to learn their opponent.

Kanter was firing during training, although sometimes he rubbed his shoulder.

"I think the Blazers are doing a very good job looking after him, but I mean, obviously, I'm not going to lie, it hurts a lot," Kanter said. "I mean, it's really hard for me to change my shirt or eat, so it's a process, we're taking it day by day, see how it feels."

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Despite the injury, Kanter had 13 points and 13 rebounds in Portland's victory over the Thunder.

The Blazers will play the winner of the first-round series between the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs, which is tied at 3. The seventh game is Saturday night in Denver.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he hoped Kanter could play in Game 1, scheduled for Monday regardless of the opponent. He said that the extended rest (Portland was the first team in the West to advance to the next round) will help.

"I know it's too early," Stotts said of the decision. "The good thing is that we do not play until Monday, so we do not have to make any decisions until then, so we have hope."

Kanter, 26, has had a somewhat turbulent season. The New York Knicks forgave him after the trade deadline. Once he started, he fell out of the rotation when New York, which ended with the worst record in the league, focused on the younger players.

It was signed by the Blazers just before the All-Star break as backup for starter Jusuf Nurkic.

But Kanter became vitally important to Portland when Nurkic broke a leg in an overtime win at home over the Brooklyn Nets on March 25. Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season.

Kanter averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23 games on the stretch with the Blazers, including eight starts.

In the playoffs, he's averaging 13.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. In Game 1 against the Thunder, he had 20 points and 18 rebounds and was nicknamed the Most Valuable Player of the game by his teammate Damian Lillard.

He has also faced challenges beyond the court. Born in Turkey, Kanter missed a game in Toronto shortly after joining the Blazers because he thought his life could be in danger if he left the United States. As a result of his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kanter had been described as a terrorist by his native country. His pbadport was revoked and, according to reports, Turkey has issued an arrest warrant against Interpol.

For now, Kanter is working lightly and lifting something. The concern is not only if it can overcome the pain, but if there is the possibility of further harm, he said.

He said he will work with the team's coaches and see how the shoulder feels.

"They just said it's a separation, it's usually about a month to cure it," he said. "But I mean, you do not have a month to take off, so I'm just going to get over it."


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