Raptors forward OG Anunoby and center Khem Birch aren’t on the verge of returning to the court, according to head coach Nick Nurse, who said on Tuesday that the two veterans will remain sidelined for the “foreseeable future,” according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link).
Anunoby, who is dealing with a left hip pointer, has been out of action since November 15. Right knee swelling has kept Birch on the shelf since November 21. Both players were starters when they were last healthy.
Nurse said last week that Anunoby hadn’t suffered a setback in his recovery from his hip issue, but that he had “hit a wall” in the rehab process and that the injury wasn’t healing like the team had hoped. It appears the fifth-year forward hasn’t taken any significant steps forward since then.
As for Birch, Nurse told reporters today that the 29-year-old has undergone tests that haven’t revealed any serious damage to his knee. However, the Raptors have had trouble getting the swelling under control and are trying to stop it from flaring up.
After experimenting with a small-ball lineup for several games, Toronto made Birch its starting center when Anunoby went down in mid-November. Since Birch’s injury, Precious Achiuwa has reclaimed that role, with Yuta Watanabe and Chris Boucher playing regular minutes off the bench.