Raptors forward OG Anunoby returned to action on Thursday after missing 15 games due to a fractured finger. He immediately reentered Toronto’s starting lineup and scored 14 points in an important win over Cleveland.
While a current Raptor returned from an injury on Thursday, a former Raptor headed to the sidelines with an ailment of his own. Bulls star DeMar DeRozan missed the team’s game against New Orleans due to a left groin strain, one that head coach Billy Donovan referred to as “mild,” per Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.
“I think he was experiencing some tightness (there) for a little bit, but nothing more than tightness,” Donovan said. “And then I think — I don’t know if it was a specific play — but (he) definitely started to feel it a little bit more than just being tight after (Tuesday’s game).
“DeMar knows his body better than anybody else. I think he felt like, ‘OK this could get into something else a little bit more significant if I don’t take care of this.’ That’s why they wanted to do the imaging and they found out it’s a mild strain really all it is right now… We just don’t want it to turn into something bigger.”
As we wait to see if DeRozan will miss any more time, here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:
- Bucks forward Khris Middleton has missed a couple games due to a wrist injury, but head coach Mike Budenholzer expressed optimism that Middleton will be available in Memphis on Saturday, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link).
- Budenholzer is less certain about Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s status for Saturday’s game after the Bucks star sat out on Thursday with right knee soreness, but said Antetokounmpo’s injury shouldn’t be “anything long-term or significant” (Twitter link via Nehm).
- Andre Iguodala, who has missed the Warriors‘ last 19 games due to a back issue, has been upgraded to questionable for Friday’s game in Atlanta, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Even if Iguodala isn’t able to play tonight, it sounds like he’s very close to returning.
- Pistons rookie wing Chris Smith, who has spent the season on a two-way contract recovering from an ACL tear, is undergoing another surgery and won’t make his NBA debut this season, head coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday (Twitter link via James Edwards III of The Athletic). Smith’s two-way deal runs through 2022/23, but that doesn’t guarantee Detroit will hang onto him for next season.
- Pistons rookie forward Isaiah Livers entered the NBA’s concussion protocol and missed Wednesday’s game after bumping heads with Luka Garza in practice, per Casey (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press). While Livers was diagnosed with a concussion and has been ruled out for Friday’s game too, Garza was OK and didn’t have to enter the protocol.