The Toronto Raptors became the latest NBA ranchise to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak this year when news broke that multiple members of the organization's coaching staff had entered the league's health and safety protocols.
The NBA postponed Raptors games on Sunday vs. the Bulls and Tuesday against the Pistons, but it was still mostly unclear to what extent the team would be depleted upon a return.
On Tuesday night, that information became available, courtesy of ESPN NBA reporter Tim Bontemps.
The Raptors will be without Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Malachi Flynn and Pat McCaw because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols for tomorrow’s game against the Pistons. That is in addition to Nick Nurse and several other coaches.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) March 2, 2021
">According to Bontemps, the Raptors will be without starters Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam when the team returns to the court for Wednesday's make-up game against the Detroit Pistons. Bench players Malachi Flynn and Pat McCaw will also miss be out due to health and safety protocols.
Head coach Nick Nurse and a handful of assistants also won't be available for Wednesday's contest. It's expected that all of the aforementioned players and coaches will miss the latter half of the Raptors back-to-back on Thursday in Boston against the Celtics.
Needless to say, the priority remains the healthy and safety of the individuals involved. That being said, this is a massive blow to one of the hottest teams in the league.
The Raptors will need to fill a massive scoring void left by the combination of Siakam and VanVleet. The duo is averaging 40.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 11.4 assists this season and has been a massive reason for Toronto's move back into the playoff picture. Anunoby is widely considered to be a plus-defender, meaning that the Raptors will be depleted on both ends come Wednesday.
However, in a way, the timing of the outbreak won't be devastating for Toronto. The league will head into the All-Star break on Thursday, allowing the Raptors time to heal up and return to full strength.
Hopefully the affected players and coaches can get well soon and get back on the court next week.