A severely depleted Raptors squad hobbled onto the court to face the Detroit Pistons Wednesday after a plethora of positive tests and schedule delays marred Toronto's week.
A COVID-19 outbreak swiftly moved its way through the team over the past few days, leaving the Raptors without Pascal Siakam, head coach Nurse and five members of his coaching staff for Friday's win over Houston. Sunday’s contest against the Chicago Bulls was subsequently postponed, while Wednesday's matchup with the Pistons was originally set to go on Tuesday before being pushed back a day.
The Athletic's Shams Charania, after noting Toronto's outbreak made up the majority of the NBA's positive tests over the past seven days, cited sources that said the internal spread of the virus was primarily caused by "inconsistent mask-wearing from coaching staff members."
Many of the positives cases, as expected, are isolated on one team (Toronto). The NBA postponed two Raptors games and the team is returning to action tonight. Sources said the internal spread seems to have arisen from inconsistent mask-wearing from coaching staff members. https://t.co/YkyI58T4wS
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 3, 2021
Charania has yet to elaborate on the report.
The Raptors were once again without Nurse along with six members of his staff versus Detroit. Siakam missed his second straight contest and was joined on the sidelines by Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw — who all entered the league’s health and safety protocols.
Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo, who secured his first ever NBA head-coaching win against the Rockets, manned Toronto's bench for the second straight game. The chaotic scramble to field a team was all-consuming for the Raptors this week, as Jalen Harris and Donta Hall were called up from the Raptors' G-League affiliate and arrived “literally one minute” before the Tuesday's practice, Scariolo said.
The Raptors will try to squeeze in their final game in Boston on Thursday before the desperately needed All-Star break, and are scheduled to resume March 11 versus the Hawks.
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