Scottie Barnes injury update: Will Raptors star return in playoffs?

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 16: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors receives medical attention (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 16: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors receives medical attention (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors might have been getting blown out by the Philadelphia 76ers, but they could at least take solace in the fact that they could regroup and come back swinging in Game 2. Unfortunately, thanks to an unlucky twist of fate surrounding Scottie Barnes’ ankle, quiet optimism faded into unyielding concern.

Barnes did not return to the game after Joel Embiid stepped on his ankle in the fourth quarter. Barnes was writhing around on the ground in severe pain and was unable to put any weight on that ankle while being escorted to the locker room. A fantastic Game 1 with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists came to an end.

The Raptors need to make sure that their most enticing long-term asset is healthy irrespective of the result of this series. Even if it is just a sprain, this is still a nightmare scenario for the Raptors. At the very least, it sounds like Barnes didn’t suffer a fracture last night.

Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that X-rays on Barnes’ ankle came back negative, ruling out a fracture. While this is certainly good news, it doesn’t mean that Barnes has completely avoided an injury that will knock him out of the postseason.

UPDATE: Nick Nurse ruled Barnes as doubtful for Game 2

Toronto Raptors Scottie Barnes injury update: Can he play?

According to Dr. Rajpal Brar of 3CB Performance, a Grade 1 sprain normally takes 7-10 days to recover fully from but can be pushed day-to-day in a playoff scenario. Grade 2 strains typically take 3-4 weeks to recover from, though Barnes would likely need to miss a week.

Keep in mind that players like LeBron James have missed more than one week with a Grade 2 strain. A Grade 3 rupture would knock Barnes out for 4-6 weeks. If there is still instability after that time, surgery might be needed. Brar was also worried about a potential bone bruise due to the weight of Embiid coming down on his ankle.

“Another thing that potentially compounds Barnes’ injury is the fact that it’s forced from Joel stepping on it,” Brar said. “That can mean compression forces through the ankle. Always potential for a bone bruise.”

If Barnes is out for an extended period of time, 3-and-D specialist Precious Achiuwa figures to slide into the starting lineup while bench players like Chris Boucher and Yuta Watanabe see an increased offensive responsibility. Barnes’ availability will depend on the severity of the injury and how risky Toronto is willing to get.

This story will be updated as new events unfold. Hopefully, Barnes is healthy enough to get back on the floor. The larger NBA universe deserves to see one of the best young players in the game test his mettle against some of the Eastern Conference’s top superstars.

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