Damwon's Nuguri gets surgery on collapsed lung, will compete in worlds

Damwon Gaming top laner Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon. Provided by Riot Games Korea

Damwon Gaming top laner Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon's travel to the League of Legends World Championship will be delayed due to pneumothorax (collapsed lung) surgery, the team announced late Monday.

Nuguri was scheduled to leave South Korea to head to China for worlds on Friday but will now fly to Shanghai on Sept. 18. Nuguri is expected to make a full recovery, according to a statement from Damwon, and is scheduled to be released from the hospital Sept. 13.

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According to a statement from Damwon Gaming, Nuguri began experiencing symptoms like chest pain and difficulty breathing on Sunday, a day after Damwon's League Champions Korea summer finals victory against DRX. A day later, after X-rays and an examination, Nuguri was diagnosed with a collapsed lung. Early Tuesday, Nuguri underwent successful lung surgery; he is currently recovering in the hospital, the team said.

The delayed travel is likely to affect Damwon and Nuguri's practice time, and Nuguri will still have to quarantine the mandatory 14 days after arriving in Shanghai due to the coronavirus pandemic. After a 3-0 sweep of DRX in the LCK finals to claim South Korea's top seed and successful scrim results against top teams from China's LoL Pro League, Damwon are one of the favored teams at this upcoming worlds, alongside Chinese teams like Top Esports and JD Gaming.

Nuguri has been one of the stars on this lineup alongside mid laner Heo "ShowMaker" Su. Among all LCK tops this summer, Nuguri was tied for the highest kills/deaths/assists ratio (5.2), and had the highest average gold difference at 10 minutes (349), highest experience difference at 10 minutes (240), highest creep score difference at 10 minutes (6.3), highest CS per minute (9.1), and highest damage per minute (571).

At last year's world championship, Damwon made it to the quarterfinals, where they were eliminated by eventual finalist G2 Esports 3-1.