The Toronto Raptors may have a 13-15 record, but that is a more impressive mark than it appears to be given the circumstances around it. OG Anunoby, Khem Birch, and Precious Achiuwa have all missed significant time over the last few weeks due to injuries, leaving Toronto thin at key positions.
Anunoby hasn’t played since the beginning of a West Coast road trip in Portland due to a hip pointer, and Birch has been sidelined for weeks with a knee issue. Not only was Achiuwa briefly in the health and safety protocols, but he entered while working his way back from a shoulder ailment.
With games against some teams at the top of the standings up next on the schedule for Toronto, getting healthier is a must for surviving this initial brush of injuries. After some grim injury luck over the last few weeks, Toronto’s fortune seems to be turning around.
Anunoby, Birch, and Achiuwa were all able to practice yesterday, which could be encouraging for their availability against the Golden State Warriors. The Raptors have played just one game this season with all five of their starters and Birch healthy, so this would be a major boost for their morale.
OG Anunoby and Khem Birch may return for the Toronto Raptors.
While Achiuwa has been in the crosshairs of fans because of his inability to be a consistent interior finisher, he is one of the better rebounders on the team. That skill will be welcomed back with open arms after a few games of watching Chris Boucher play center.
Birch would be an even bigger boost in that regard, especially on the offensive glass. While not the most offensively skilled big man the Raptors have ever had, he clearly has had an impact on the team’s low post play, and getting him back could help Toronto hold their own against some of the bigger teams in the league.
However, the big prize here is Anunoby, still the highest scorer on the team in terms of points per game. With his defense still elite and his offense becoming more refined than at any other point in his career, Anunoby getting back to his old self could be the X-factor this team needs.
Toronto is currently on the fringes of the play-in tournament, but they could manage to sneak into that final group of four if Anunoby, Birch, and Achiuwa all return to their pre-injury forms. An Anunoby resurgence would be a major kick in the rear for this team.