The Toronto Raptors already entered this season shorthanded after losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to free agency. On Friday, they lost two more critical components of their rotation to injuries. Both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka left Friday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Lowry further aggregated an existing left thumb injury, while Ibaka suffered a severe sprained right ankle.
On Saturday, Lowry was diagnosed with a fracture of the distal phalanx of his left thumb, according to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Ibaka will also be out indefinitely to get further imaging done on the ankle, per The Athletic’s Eric Koreen.
With both set to miss some time, the Raptors will have only four of the eight players that comprised the bulk of their playoff rotation during last season’s championship run left to rely on. Pascal Siakam led the way Friday with 44 points. Fred VanVleet has taken his game up a notch this season in a bigger role. Marc Gasol remains as a steady force in the middle, and Norman Powell has seen his minutes rise this season.
But after those four, the Raptors have needed to rely on new faces. OG Anunoby was a promising young player on last year’s roster, but appendicitis knocked him out for the postseason. He has become a starter on this year’s team, and put up 20 points on Friday. Terence Davis and Matt Thomas have carved out roles in Toronto’s rotation, and the 6-2 Raptors have thrived so far even without their best player from last season.
But with Lowry and Ibaka now sidelined, Toronto’s depth and player-development will be tested. Siakam has emerged as a superstar, but Toronto just won a championship largely because every player who stepped on the floor was able to play starting-quality basketball. That might not be the case any longer, and Toronto’s reaction to these losses will be one of the stories to watch in the Eastern Conference over the next few weeks.