It’s an avalanche of health issues for Toronto.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse said guard Gary Trent Jr. and forwards Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young are unlikely to play in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I mean, listen, it doesn’t look good for any of those guys,” Nurse said after Sunday’s practice at Temple University. “They’re all going to be listed as probably doubtful, so it doesn’t look good for any of them. We’ll evaluate them as we go and see where we end up.”
Trent, who’s dealing with a non-COVID illness, struggled in Game 1. The Raptors won’t miss that version of Trent. But losing the possibility of him bouncing back stings. As does losing Young, who left Game 1 with a sprained thumb.
Toronto already lost to Philadelphia by 20 in Game 1. Making up that gap becomes even more difficult without two starters (Barnes and Trent) and a prominent reserve (Young).
Barnes is a key creator in the Raptors’ offense, and his active/versatile defense goes a long way in their aggressive switch-heavy scheme.
Toronto already used the NBA’s tightest rotation. Fellow bigs Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher can cover for Young off the bench, and Khem Birch can play more. But replacing Barnes and Trent on the perimeter will be challenging. Malachi Flynn? Armoni Brooks? Yuta Watanabe? Dalano Banton? Svi Mykhailiuk?
The Raptors have no easy answers.