As expected, the Toronto Raptors will be without their most versatile player Monday night against the 76ers.
Rookie forward Scottie Barnes will miss Game 2 of the best-of-seven series with a sprained left ankle. Barnes donned a huge walking boot on his left foot at the Raptors’ morning shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center.
Meanwhile, teammates Gary Trent Jr. (non-COVID illness) and Thad Young (left thumb hyperextension) remain listed as doubtful for Game 2 of the first-round series. Trent didn’t attend the morning shootaround, while Young had his left thumb wrapped.
“I’m still a very positive, happy human being,” Barnes said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time. God got me. So I’m still happy.”
The Sixers hold a 1-0 series advantage heading into Game 2. Game 3 of the series will be Wednesday night at Scotiabank in Toronto. Afterward, the teams will have two days off before playing Game 4 on Saturday at Scotiabank.
Asked about the timeline of his return, Barnes said he was unsure.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It might be soon. We will have to see. I don’t know. It’s feeling better, though, each and every day.”
He had to be helped off the court with 9 minutes, 6 seconds remaining in the Sixers’ 131-111 Game 1 victory after Joel Embiid stepped on his left foot. The Raptors rookie sprained his ankle on the play but X-rays were negative. The Raptors did not immediately disclose the results of Sunday morning’s MRI exam.
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Playing without Barnes Monday night could be a big loss for the Raptors.
In addition to starting in the post, Barnes is the backup point guard. He started several games this season at the point while All-Star Fred VanVleet was sidelined with an injury. The Rookie of the Year finalist averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists this season.
“He brings us offensively a bit of handling, point guard abilities, scoring at the rim, put-back abilities, and he’s a versatile defender,” coach Nick Nurse said, explaining what the Raptors lose with Barnes sidelined. “So that may put us into a lot more coverages and things on defense rather than having so much flexibility to switch.”