Achiuwa still likely weeks away from returning

TORONTO – While Precious Achiuwa has resumed some light practising, Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse erased any expectations the athletic forward would be back playing any time soon.

“Probably each day getting a little closer . . . (but) you’re looking at the new year for sure,” Nurse said after practice Thursday. “I wouldn’t even put him in the 60 to 70 per cent range. He’s not near contact.

“It’s good that he’s out there, he’s moving, he’s trying to do some stuff, it’s getting a little better every day, he is engaged, trying to do a few drills here and there when we’re teaching and things like that, so he’s trying to stay connected. But I’d say we’ve got a good two weeks yet.”

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The 23-year-old was averaging 8.8 points and 7.0 rebounds before tearing ligaments in his right ankle on Nov. 9. He’s missed 16 games since. In Wednesday’s 124-123 loss to Sacramento, Achiuwa leapt off the bench in celebration of a big shot, hopping up and down one-legged on his healthy left foot.

Mired in an early-season slump, the Raptors — 13-15 and 10th in the Eastern Conference — definitely could use his health. They have lost numerous players to injuries and illness for chunks of this season, including Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.

O.G. Anunoby is currently sidelined with a hip injury that is expected to keep him out at least a week.

Otto Porter Jr. has missed 13 games with a dislocated toe. He saw a specialist who ruled out surgery, but his return certainly doesn’t sound imminent.

The Raptors’ loss to the Kings was their third in a row, and they face a tough stretch of games. Eleven of their next 12 opponents have records above .500.

Toronto hosts the Brooklyn Nets on Friday and the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2022.


&© 2022 The Canadian Press

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