UPDATE: Jan. 8, 1:34 p.m. — Powell is being listed as doubtful again for Wednesday’s game vs. the Charlotte Hornets.
Fred VanVleet is listed as out, Norman Powell doubtful again tonight. Ponds back with 905, otherwise same stuff.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 8, 2020
Fred VanVleet is listed as out again as well and isn’t expected to return any time soon. The fact Powell has an injury status is a good sign, but it’s unclear when he’ll be back in the lineup. For now, the Raptors will ride Kyle Lowry and get contributions from Patrick McCaw and Matt Thomas.
UPDATE: Jan. 6, 5:45 p.m. — Powell is now being listed as doubtful to play Tuesday vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is an upgrade considering Powell has been sidelined for nearly a month due to a shoulder injury. Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol remain out, however.
UPDATE: Raptors coach Nick Nurse told reporters prior to 2020 that Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell are “a ways away” from returning to the lineup.
The ‘Big 3’ of the Raptors walking wounded — Siakam (groin); Powell (shoulder) and Gasol (hamstring) — are still ‘a ways away’ said Nurse before Raps get set to close our decade vs. Cavs— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) December 31, 2019
This was before the Raptors’ win over the Cavaliers on New Year’s Eve. Toronto continues to stay afloat without three key players, but it’ll be tough to continue to be competitive with the top teams in the East and NBA until Siakam and Gasol return. The Raptors are inexperienced and thin behind Serge Ibaka in the frontcourt. They should be OK as long as Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry remain healthy.
UPDATE: Toronto got back on the winning track easily with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on New Year’s Eve. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was inserted into the starting lineup in place of OG Anunoby. But Terence Davis was the one who shined off the bench. Davis finished with 19 points and four rebounds in 25 minutes in the win. If the Raptors can get contributions like this from unlikely sources, they should be fine against weaker opponents until Siakam, Gasol and Powell get healthy.
UPDATE: The Raptors dropped their third game in the past four on Sunday to the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-97. It was a tough home loss for Toronto, which has widely been staying afloat in the East without Siakam, Gasol and Powell. Hopefully the Raps can get Powell back soon, as he’s traveling with the team and has a shot at returning New Year’s Eve vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kyle Lowry has been fantastic through all the injuries, averaging just a hair over 25 points per game in six games since Siakam was also ruled out indefinitely. But how long can Lowry keep this up? He’s been around the block and is a savvy veteran, but also has a lot of miles on those legs. Fred VanVleet has also stepped up big but is a risk for re-injuring as well after missing time with a knee contusion.
UPDATE: Here’s a nice little nugget on the Raptors’ injuries this season from beat reporter Josh Lewenberg.
With Siakam, Gasol, Powell, Thomas and Hernandez all out again, the Raptors have now lost 113 man games due to injury (3rd-most in NBA) this season, which matches their TOTAL from all of last season (not including Kawhi's load management). It's not even January.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 29, 2019
So the defending champs have lost the third-most man games this season so far and it’s matched their total from all last season when Kawhi Leonard was sitting constantly. Despite all the injuries, the Raptors continue to thrive at 22-10 and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. I still think Toronto is a darkhorse title contender and shouldn’t be overlooked.
UPDATE: The Raptors avenged their Christmas Day loss by defeating the Boston Celtics handily on Saturday night, 113-97 at TD Garden. Toronto got much better results than a few days ago without key players Siakam, Gasol and Powell.
Serge Ibaka led the way down low with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyle Lowry stepped up with 30 points. Patrick McCaw, who has been filling in for Powell, scored 18 points with eight assists and seven rebounds in the win. The Raptors continue to play well without Siakam, Gasol and Powell, so there’s no reason for Nurse to rush them back into the lineup. Though, Powell is expected to be back soon.
UPDATE: Per coach Nick Nurse, Powell is further along than Siakam and Gasol. He made the road trip and could return to the lineup soon.
Norm Powell has made the trip to Boston with the team. He won't play but according to head coach Nick Nurse he's further along than either Marc Gasol or Pascal Siakam who are not with the team in Boston.— Mike Ganter (@Mike_Ganter) December 28, 2019
Toronto Raptors PF/C Pascal Siakam, C Marc Gasol and SG Norman Powell remain out indefinitely for the team due to injuries.
Siakam, Gasol and Dewan Hernandez won't be travelling with the team for tomorrow's game vs Boston. Nothing to read into. None of them are close to returning and it's only a 1-day trip. Raps are back at home to play OKC in the 2nd night of a back-to-back Sunday.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 27, 2019
There wasn’t a status change for the trio, who have been dealing with injuries after going down last week. Siakam has a groin issue, Gasol hurt his hamstring and Powell had a sling around his shoulder when we last saw him. Toronto desperately needs to get these three back in its lineup. The Raptors were no match for the Boston Celtics at home on Christmas Day, and the lack of depth and consistency was a big issue. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet will have to continue to carry the load offensively, with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher stepping up in the front court along with veteran Serge Ibaka.