After two postponements, the Toronto Raptors return to action on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, though they will do so without five players from their roster and a significant portion of their coaching staff, including head coach Nick Nurse, due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
Watch the Raptors face the Pistons, tonight at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on TSN3/4/5 and TSN Direct.
Starters Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, as well as Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw have all been deemed ineligible to play against the Pistons.
Nurse, who along with five members of his coaching staff were forced to miss last Friday’s victory over the Houston Rockets due to the protocols, will also be absent. Siakam was also held out of that game.
Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo, who was the acting head coach in Nurse’s place, will once again take control of the short-handed squad on Wednesday at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
The Raptors were able to hold a practice on Tuesday night and general manager Bobby Webster spoke prior to the team hitting the court.
"It's the emotional stress of having colleagues that could be sick, the enormous amount of stress everyone feels,” said Webster. “You're going to get through it, the basketball will go on, but just to maintain everybody's belonging and familiarity is really important."
The Raptors enter the game tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 17-17 record. They are 5.5 games off the lead currently held by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Pistons have dropped three in a row and are currently at the bottom of the conference standings with a 9-25 record. They are the league’s second-worst team, ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Raptors will also be in action on Thursday as they wrap up the first half of the NBA season against the Boston Celtics in a game that can also be seen on TSN. Webster indicated that he does not expect any of the players ruled out against the Pistons to be available prior to the break.
Ahead of tonight’s game, the Raptors have recalled both Jalen Harris and Donta Hall from their G-League affiliate Raptors 905.