July 12, 2024

Over a month has passed since the Toronto Raptors’ starting center suffered a left ankle injury on January 7 after inadvertently stepping on Pascal Siakam’s foot. After that, Toronto has lost nine of their previous 11 games and had a difficult few weeks. However, Raptors coach Darko Rajaković informed reporters in Houston that Poeltl has been upgraded from questionable and would return alongside Immanuel Quickley, who has also been cleared to play.

Due to a right thigh injury, Quickley had missed three straight games. However, he returned to the court on Thursday and is expected to play against the Rockets. RJ Barrett is the only player still not in the starting lineup due to swelling in his left knee. He will have missed his third straight game. Poeltl’s return could provide Toronto with much-needed defensive strength in the paint, an area where the Raptors have severely struggled without him. Without Poeltl, Toronto had been among the worst rebounding teams in the league, and throughout the previous 11 games, the defense had deteriorated dramatically.

With Jontay Porter out, Thad Young should continue to play significant backup minutes for Toronto. Porter has been ruled out due to back spasms. After taking over as Toronto’s primary point guard while Quickley was down, Barnes will return to his typical forward position with Quickley’s return. The Rockets will have Alperen Sengun on the court. Due to a medical condition, the third-year center was deemed questionable; nevertheless, he is now cleared to play.


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