Good news for the Raptors after their historic loss to the Cavaliers: the era of full-on replacements appears to be over. Four key bodies have tested out of health and safety protocols over the last 24 hours — Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., Khem Birch and Malachi Flynn — and the team will welcome back Siakam, Trent Jr., and Flynn tonight.
Precious Achiuwa and Khem Birch both remain out due to conditioning, while Dalano Banton is a late scratch with a knee contusion. A minutes cap has been suggested for the players returning from protocols.
Banton is a late scratch with a right knee contusion, so Raptors have 10 available players tonight: Siakam, Trent, Flynn, Boucher, Watanabe, Svi, Wilson, Waters, Morgan, Oturu.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 28, 2021
While the team’s injured list is still about as long as Homer’s Odyssey, we’re at least saved from an entire roster of G League guys taking on an Eastern Conference playoff team. The Sixers are 17-16, the clubhouse leaders in a morass of teams floating around .500, which the Raptors find themselves in, somehow, just 1.5 games back of sixth place.
Are we really talking about playoff implications for a late-December game when half the league is sick? Yes, because the conversation about fake basketball and a corrupt league is far too depressing to repeat day after day. We can recognize truths and still enjoy hoops, right? Right???
Here are the game details.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto — Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., Yuta Watanabe, Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher
Philadelphia — Seth Curry, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid
Toronto — Dalano Banton (knee – out), Precious Achiuwa (conditioning – out), Khem Birch (conditioning – out), OG Anunoby (health and safety protocols – out), Scottie Barnes (health and safety protocols – out), Fred VanVleet (health and safety protocols – out), Isaac Bonga (health and safety protocols – out), Justin Champagnie (health and safety protocols – out), David Johnson (calf – out), Goran Dragić (personal – out)
Philadelphia — Andre Drummond (health and safety protocols – out), Danny Green (health and safety protocols – out), Shake Milton (health and safety protocols – out), Ben Simmons (personal – out)