The Toronto Raptors haven’t played many games in which all of their key players have been healthy this season. In addition to the fact that Pascal Siakam missed the start of the 2021-22 campaign due to his shoulder injury, OG Anunoby and Khem Birch have been sidelined for the last few weeks due to nagging ailments.
Anunoby, who was expected to be one of the team’s offensive leaders this season, hasn’t played since the beginning of a West Coast road trip due to a hip pointer. Birch hasn’t played in weeks due to knee swelling. Toronto has just one game this year with all five of their starters and Birch fully healthy.
Anunoby’s ability to impact the game on both ends and Birch’s quality rebounding have proven to be invaluable traits for how this team functions. Raptors fans hoping that they could see these two return to action shortly will be left bitterly disappointed by Nick Nurse’s latest update.
Nurse claimed that he doesn’t have an update on the status of Anunoby or Birch, meaning that the pair will be “out for the foreseeable future.” There is no way to frame this other than a massive gut punch for a Raptors team that was starting to find some momentum.
The Toronto Raptors will be without OG Anunoby and Khem Birch.
Birch is averaging 6.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this year. His 3.2 offensive rebounds are the highest numbers of his career, which is one of the main reasons that the Raptors have taken a step forward in that department.
Anunoby is averaging a career-high 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. His defense has once again been excellent, but games like a road victory against the Knicks in which he scored 36 points show that he is hitting the developmental boxes that the Raptors wanted him to check.
Without Anunoby or Birch, the Raptors will likely continue to lean on Precious Achiuwa in the starting lineup. While he saw his minutes cut due to poor play earlier in the season, Chris Boucher will be entrusted with a solid diet of playing time to make up for losing both of those players.
The Raptors have managed to take down some solid teams without Anunoby on this homestand, but they have a brutal schedule with dates against the Warriors, Nets, and Bulls on the schedule. Time will tell if they can survive without these two studs on the floor.