The Toronto Raptors are facing frontcourt challenges as they prepare to take on the Cairns Taipans from Australia’s NBL on Sunday evening.
Unfortunately, Jakob Poeltl is expected to be absent due to an illness, according to reports. Poeltl was notably absent from Saturday’s practice.
Jakob Poeltl “probably not”
Playing tomorrow due to illness.
Precious Achiuwa is progressing well but not full-contact yet.
Otto Porter Jr. participated fully but probably isn’t going to play tomorrow.
No Christian Koloko update.
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 14, 2023
This leaves Toronto in a tough spot without their top two centers, as Christian Koloko’s return remains uncertain due to ongoing respiratory issues.
Meanwhile, it seems that Precious Achiuwa may also be sidelined, although there’s some optimism as he participated in non-contact activities on Saturday, indicating improvement in his left groin strain.
Otto Porter Jr. is not anticipated to play on Sunday, and it’s suggested that this decision is more about managing his injuries, particularly for the 30-year-old, who has struggled with injuries in the past.
Porter’s situation remains somewhat unclear since he claims his toe is fully healed after missing most of the previous season. It doesn’t appear to be a new injury concern.
To compensate for these absences, Toronto is likely to rely on Chris Boucher and Thad Young, with the possibility of Mouhamed Gueye and Makur Maker coming off the bench to bolster the frontcourt.
Gueye and Maker have Exhibit 10 contracts and are unlikely to secure a spot on the Toronto roster, but they will spend the season with the Raptors 905, the team’s G League affiliate.
Notably, Maker, Ron Harper Jr., and Jeff Dowtin Jr. were the only active players who did not see action in Toronto’s first preseason game.
However, they are expected to have playing time in the upcoming game against the Taipans, who are coming off a significant 145-82 loss to the Washington Wizards.