"It Doesn't Look Good for Any of Those Guys": Nick Nurse Addresses Raptors Trio Doubtful for Game 2


The Toronto Raptors could be forced to play without three key players in Game 2 of their first-round playoff matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Nick Nurse told reporters on Sunday morning.

It was an ugly loss on Saturday night for a Raptors' team who has rarely experienced many in such fashion this season, dropping Game 1 131-111. Losing the game in itself, however, may not have been the team's most crucial loss that night, as star rookie Scottie Barnes, starting guard Gary Trent Jr. and veteran forward Thaddeus Young are all unlikely to play in Game 2 on Monday night. "I mean, listen, it doesn't look good for any of those guys. They're all going to be listed as probably doubtful" Nurse said at the team's practice.  

Beginning with perhaps the most significant loss, budding rookie Scottie Barnes appeared to have severely injured his ankle midway through the fourth quarter. In what seemed to be a fluke accident, 76ers big man and MVP-frontrunner Joel Embiid was cutting through the paint when he spun into the Barnes, stepping on the rookie's left foot, subsequently twisting his ankle. Barnes' immediately dropped to the floor, holding the ankle in pain. The injury ended an impressive, near triple-double playoff debut for the rookie-of-the-year candidate, who finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.

This wasn't Embiid's first run-in with Barnes in this game, either. Back in the 2nd quarter, he delivered a brutal forearm to Barnes' face while defending a layup, and was issued a Flagrant Foul 1 for the play. It's safe to say it was a very physical matchup between the two.

A timetable on a potential return has yet to be established for the rookie. Fortunately, X-Rays came back negative, and the team will now wait on the results of an MRI on Sunday for what is being assumed as an ankle sprain. Jordan Schultz reported earlier today that Barnes has been ruled out for Game 2, with the team still leaving the door open to a potential return later in the series.
Next to be listed as doubtful is Thaddeus Young, who also experienced an injury in the Game 1 loss. Young was limited to just six minutes, before exiting the contest with what has been deemed a hyperextended thumb. He, along with Barnes, is awaiting results from an MRI to gauge a timetable for a return.

Gary Trent Jr. was not injured during the game, but did not look himself, shooting 2-11 from the field and managing just 9 points. It was later revealed by Nurse that he has been battling through a non-Covid illness for the last week, which held Trent Jr. out of Sunday's practice and will likely hold the sharpshooter out of Game 2 as well. 

Looking forward, the Raptors depth will certainly be tested if they want to leave Philadelphia with a 
1-1 series tie. The absences of Barnes, Trent Jr., and Young leave roughly 80 minutes per game to be distributed amongst starters Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, and the likes of bench players such as Precious Achuiwa, Chris Boucher, Malachi Flynn and Armoni Brooks. Expect to see all three of the remaining starters play close to the entire game, as both VanVleet and Siakam will fortunately be in familiar territory, already leading the league in minutes per game at 37.9. 

Stay tuned for updates regarding the trio's status for the rest of the series.

Photo Credit: © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports