The Toronto Raptors are about to learn a whole lot more about their bench.
After both Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry were ruled out for the second half of the first game of their road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, Nick Nurse provided an update post-game saying that the star point guard suffered a small fracture in his left thumb while Ibaka has a severely sprained right ankle and was seen leaving with a walking boot.
Ibaka came down on OG Anunoby after looking to contest a shot by Brandon Ingram and sprained his right ankle, remaining on the floor for a considerable amount of time before being helped to the locker room in the second quarter.
Lowry’s reason for departure was a bit more innocuous, looking to have jammed his left thumb while reaching in for a steal in the first quarter. He admitted to thinking it was just some nail damage, but X-rays revealed a small break. There will be another evaluation Saturday to determine the severity and timeline. If there is any consolation, it’s that the injury is unrelated to the area on his left thumb where he received surgery in the off-season.
So far this year, head coach Nick Nurse has employed a very short rotation, relying primarily on seven players and sparingly using the rest. 10 players have seen court time inside the first half of the last two games and the reliance on them might grow.
Lowry had six points, five assists and two rebounds in 16 minutes, while Ibaka ended his night with eight points and six rebounds in 12 minutes. The former was looking like one of the best point guards in the league through the early season with averages of 24 points, 6.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent from deep and Ibaka has been Toronto’s best bench player, providing a solid scoring punch combined with excellent interior defence.
The Raptors relied on Pascal Siakam to take on more of the ball-handling duties in the second half and he finished with a career-high 44 points, while OG Anunoby fell one short of his career-high with 21 points in a 122-104 victory over the Pelicans.
It doesn’t feel like much of a win with the injury news, though.
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