Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka wore a protective walking boot on his left ankle in practice on Tuesday and is unsure of his status for Game 6 against the Boston Celtics.
Ibaka said he felt fine enough to play through it in Game 5, but woke up on Tuesday feeling more stiff. He did not rule anything out for Toronto’s elimination game on Wednesday, but odds are that he won’t be 100 percent either way.
“It’s just a little twist from last night,” Ibaka told reporters. “I’m just trying to see how I feel tomorrow.”
Ibaka’s injury happened in the second half of the Raptors’ 111-89 loss to the Celtics. He went down and was slow to get up, but remained in the game for a short while before the score got out of hand. Ibaka challenged Jayson Tatum at the rim for a spectacular block at one point, but ultimately checked out and headed to the locker room early for treatment and examination.
Not only are the Raptors in a 3-2 series deficit, but they cannot afford to lose Ibaka from their already shortened rotation. Raptors coach Nick Nurse has trimmed his rotation down to seven players and at times reduced it to just six in Toronto’s win in Game 3. Ibaka has been their only reliable contributor off the bench, averaging 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field.
If Ibaka were to miss Game 6, the Raptors would be left with two equally unsatisfying options. The reserve centre minutes would either go to an unproven player like Chris Boucher or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, or be added to Pascal Siakam’s already heavy workload. And of course, this is assuming a decent effort from Marc Gasol, who has struggled mightily with his scoring averaging 5.4 points in the first five games of the series.
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