Raptors big man Serge Ibaka’s availability for Game 6 vs. Celtics in doubt due to ankle injury
Ibaka conducted his media session on Tuesday morning while wearing a walking boot on his left foot. According to ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth, Ibaka said he twisted his ankle during the Raptors’ Game 5 loss on Monday and will gauge how it feels Wednesday morning before determining whether he can play later in the day.
Ibaka’s absence would be a major blow to the Raptors as they look to bounce back from a putrid Game 5 showing and extend their season to a Game 7 against Boston.
So far in the postseason, Ibaka has averaged 15.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game off the bench for the defending champions. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, he leads the team’s rotation players in true shooting percentage (.659) while tallying 11.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
If his ankle will allow, Ibaka will want to personally rebound from a disastrous game on Monday — even before he twisted his ankle. The Celtics — who led wire-to-wire and went up by 30 at one point — dominated Toronto in all facets, including in Ibaka’s domain: in the paint. The Raptors were outrebounded 41-26, and the perimeter-oriented Celtics tallied 48 points in the paint. Ibaka’s frustrations boiled over in the third quarter, when he admonished Kyle Lowry for picking up a technical foul, causing Fred VanVleet to play peacemaker.
Ibaka had seven points and four rebounds in 19 minutes.
The 30-year old big-man averaged 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 27.0 minutes per game for Toronto in 2019-20. He has played in 142 playoff games over his 11-year NBA career.
If Ibaka can’t go on Wednesday, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher could see an increased role, and Marc Gasol could see an uptick in minutes, too.