It was extremely difficult to find a header photo for tonight’s Raptors vs. Trail Blazers game. We already used one with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, so that eliminated a whole bunch. And almost every other photo featured a Toronto and/or a Portland player who is currently injured. Both teams will play with the team they have, of course, but it is instructive as to the context: these teams are decimated by those injuries.
The Raptors got the news today: Fred VanVleet joins Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell as players with significant injuries for Toronto. (Dewan Hernandez is still on the shelf too.) On the positive side of the ledger, they’ll get Matt Thomas back tonight; he played on Monday for the 905 in the G League (here’s a bit on that). He’s not exactly the difference maker Toronto needs right now, but he’s something.
The Blazers meanwhile will apparently welcome back CJ McCollum tonight, though coach Terry Stotts was vague on just how well McCollum is right now — and how much he’ll be able to play. The team still has Damian Lillard at the ready, along with Carmelo Anthony, but they’re also missing quite a bit given the continued absence of Jusuf Nurkic. That’s nothing new — nor is their decision to let their quality wing rotation go in the off-season. But that’s neither here nor there.
So to get back to that picture situation. I decided to go with a Kyle Lowry one, and I feel like his facial expression there accutately summarizes the mood of the Raptors right now — angry, incredulous, willing to carry on.
Here’s the full Raptors-Blazers preview from this morning. Below are the updated injury details — of which there are a few (injuries and updates) — and now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
TSN at 7pm EST
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Patrick McCaw, OG Anunoby, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Serge Ibaka
Portland — Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Kent Bazemore, Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (doubtful - hamstring), Norman Powell (doubtful - shoulder), Marc Gasol (out - hamstring), Pascal Siakam (out - groin), Dewan Hernandez (ankle - out)
Portland — CJ McCollum (questionable - illness), ( Skal Labissiere (out - knee), Jusuf Nurkic (out - leg), Rodney Hood (out - Achilles), Zach Collins (out - shoulder)