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Pascal Siakam back in Raptors’ lineup vs. Spurs after 11-game absence

Raptors, Pascal Siakam

After missing the past 11 games with a groin injury, Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam will return to the lineup on Sunday to face the San Antonio Spurs. Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told reporters that Siakam will be in the starting lineup, but be on a minutes limit.

The Raptors treaded water in Siakam’s absence, going 5-6 with the star forward sidelined. Before he got hurt, Siakam was having a career year. In his fourth season, he’s averaging career highs of 25.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 36.6 minutes per game, while shooting a career-best 39.2 percent from three-point range and playing stellar defense.

Even with this recent stretch of time missed, Siakam is very likely to make his first career All-Star appearance. He’s stepped brilliantly into the void left by Kawhi Leonard’s departure in free agency over the summer following the Raptors franchise’s first-ever NBA championship in June. Toronto made Siakam its franchise player over the offseason, signing him to a four-year, $129 million extension, and he’s lived up to that commitment thus far, this injury aside.

The Raptors have weathered the loss of Leonard exceptionally well. They’re currently 25-13, with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, even as they’ve dealt with injuries to Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, who have all missed time at various points in the season. Now that Siakam is back in the lineup, they’re well-positioned to make another playoff run, even after the reigning Finals MVP left for the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency.

The Raptors will face off against the Spurs at home in Toronto at 6 p.m. Eastern time.