The Toronto Raptors have become a perennial Eastern Conference contender winning 50 games in back-to-back seasons. The team had hoped to return to the Eastern Conference Finals but were swept by the Cavaliers. All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry was in street clothes for the final two games of the series after spraining his left ankle.
Lowry’s health was an issue during the regular season as he missed 21 games in February and March with a wrist injury that ultimately required surgery. The injury was a setback for a sports medicine team that has ranked as one the top five staffs in the league over the past five seasons. Extended layoffs for Jared Sullinger and Delon Wright also elevated the Raptors’ injury totals.
Head athletic trainer Scott McCullough and Director of Sports Science Alex McKechnie once again minimized muscle-related injuries, an area in which the group has exceled in recent seasons. Their success has earned them the confidence from a front office that opted to draft OG Anunoby despite a torn ACL suffered while at Indiana. The team assumed a large part of his rehab and the rookie forward returned to action during the preseason.
With Lowry and Serge Ibaka resigned, the Raptors will enter the year with their core intact and ready to resume their quest for Eastern Conference supremacy. A return to elite form for their training staff should help improve their chances.