Finally, something to look forward to out of the Pepsi Center.

Denver Nuggets rookie center Jusuf Nurkic will replace the injured Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder at the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during all-star weekend the league announced Monday.

Adams fractured a bone in his right hand and had successful surgery Monday, though he will obviously be unavailable during all-star weekend. And while it nobody wants to see Adams injured, from a Denver fan’s perspective, it will be exciting to see what Nurkic can do on such a big platform. Hopefully he can replicate Kenneth Faried’s performance in the same game, when he won MVP back in 2013 (when he scored 40 points!).

The 20-year-old Nurkic is averaging 7 points and 6.4 rebounds per-game for the Nuggets and has flashed an impressive array of skills and basketball smarts for a rookie, and is coming off a 16 point, 14 rebound performance in Denver’s 124-114 loss to the Thunder Monday.

Nurkic’s season has flown under-the-radar a bit, partly because of Denver’s subpar play, and partly because he didn’t emerge as the starter this season until the Timofey Mozgov trade. There hasn’t been much fun this season at the Pepsi Center, and watching Nurkic get the kudos he deserves on national television will be a nice salve.

One wrinkle this year to keep in mind – the Rising Stars Challenge will feature a new format that has NBA players from the United States face off against their international counterparts.

Nurkic, being from Bosnia, will be part of the international collection. Which means, Nuggets fans might have to root against the US. Or at least for Bosnia’s representative to do well. Given Nurkic’s growing reputation as a (ahem) “fiery” personality around the league, it could be a very entertaining performance.

Find a complete roster of the game here. The game will be televised on Friday, February 13 at 7 p.m. MT from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Zach Marburger is a staff writer for Mile High Sports. He can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @BurchBurger.

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