The Toronto Raptors are no strange to seeing their regular season momentum killed by some crushing injuries to rotation stalwarts. On top of Scottie Barnes clearly laboring through a nagging ankle problem and Pascal Siakam sidelined with a groin ailment, Precious Achiuwa has seen his name added to the injury report.
Achiuwa is in the middle of his third season in the league, averaging 8.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. While he is shooting just 39% from the field, his 22-rebound showing against his old team in the Heat shows what a valuable asset he can be. Whatever positive vibes were surrounding him, however, have been extinguished.
Achiuwa left Toronto’s win against the Houston Rockets after having to be helped off the floor following an awkward landing. Toronto was lacking rotation depth and bench quality as it was, but the latest bombshell is going to make that unit much weaker.
Josh Lewenberg of TSN reported that Achiuwa will be out indefinitely due to partial ligament tears in his right ankle. He will be confined in a walking boot for the next 10 days and could be reassessed after that period. An already thin Raptors team took another body blow.
Precious Achiuwa injury update: Toronto Raptors hurts ankle.
Achiuwa has been very uneven to begin the 2022-23 campaign, as he has regressed from the 3-point line and drew some pointed criticism from Nick Nurse related to his effort on defense. Even with that recent barb thrown his way, Achiuwa is always one of the first Raptors off the bench.
Achiuwa is given a ton of defensive responsibility, as Nurse asks him to defend quick guards on the perimeter while also playing center in smaller lineups. Even when he struggles to get it going on the offensive end, Achiuwa has been such a lynchpin on defense that it will be very hard to replace him.
Thad Young is likely going to take on a much bigger role with Achiuwa and Siakam both out. Alongside Chris Boucher and the resurgent Otto Porter Jr. on the bench, it would surprise no one if Nick Nurse decided to use Juancho Hernangomez in a more limited role. This isn’t ideal, but the Raptors shouldn’t hit the panic button just yet.
The Raptors laced a ton of hope and developmental energy in the 1-2 punch of the Cameroonian Siakam in the starting lineup and Nigerian Achiuwa on the bench. Because the basketball deities were feeling extra cruel, both of them will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.