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Marc Gasol will start Wednesday vs. Thunder [UPDATE]

Raptors almost back to full strength with Gasol back. Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell recently returned to the lineup.

Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol warms up before the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Jan. 15, 7:20 p.m. — Gasol will return to the starting lineup vs. the Thunder.

The Raptors are going with a big lineup here with Powell coming off the bench. I still don’t mind Powell as a season-long and DFS option. Gasol will likely be eased back into action. Siakam should play his usual minutes in the 30-36 range.

UPDATE: Jan, 14, 12:18 p.m. — Gasol said Tuesday that he expects to return to the lineup Wednesday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Siakam and Powell both returned to the lineup last weekend against the Spurs. Siakam showed signs of rust, scoring just 15 points in 30 minutes while shooting 6-17 from the field. Powell was decent with 20 points on 8-14 shooting, including four 3-pointers.

It’ll be interesting to see if Gasol starts or not. I can see a scenario in which Nick Nurse lets’ Serge Ibaka start and eases Gasol back into the rotation. Either way, Gasol’s return should cut into Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher’s minutes off the bench.

UPDATE: Jan. 12, 4:18 p.m. — Powell and Siakam will return to the lineup Sunday vs. the Spurs. Marc Gasol remains sidelined.

Powell and Siakam will both start, though Siakam will be on a minutes limit. He’s not really a viable DFS play until he’s 100%. Powell doesn’t have any restrictions and Patrick McCaw goes back to the bench, so he’s not really viable in DFS and season-long formats anymore. Powell is a good bet to see 30+ minutes with VanVleet out.

UPDATE: Jan. 11, 12:18 p.m. — Powell will return Sunday vs. the Spurs. Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol are both listed as questionable.

So it doesn’t sound like Siakam and Gasol will be back this weekend, but they are definitely trending towards returning next week. Powell being back should be a nice boost with Fred VanVleet now sidelined for the Raptors. Powell likely starts with Lowry in the backcourt and is a decent play if he isn’t going to be limited at all.

UPDATE: Jan. 10, 12:24 p.m. — Powell is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday vs. the San Antonio Spurs.

So not only is Siakam going to be back soon, but Powell is going to back even sooner. With Powell back in the lineup Sunday, I’d imagine he’ll be starting alongside Kyle Lowry in the backcourt.

Toronto Raptors F Pascal Siakam will be back at practice Friday and hopes to return to the lineup next week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning.

Siakam has been out for a while now due to that groin injury, but the Raptors are finally getting some good health. Marc Gasol, Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet are all still sidelined, with FVV the latest to go down. Powell has been listed on the injury report as doubtful, so he’s likely the closest to return of those three. But with Siakam back, the Raptors get a big boost in the frontcourt and it’s just in time for Siakam to make a case for the All-Star game.

Fantasy Basketball Analysis: Toronto Raptors

With the way coach Nick Nurse handles his rotations, I’d imagine Siakam returns and plays a decent amount of minutes. He could be restricted a bit, but that would still mean he’d see around 25 minutes I’d assume. Siakam is averaging 36.6 minutes per game this season. OG Anunoby or Patrick McCaw will go back to the bench with Siakam back. I’d guess it’s Anunoby. I think Siakam’s return only helps the value of Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry, who have had to step up with all the injuries and could use some help.