Toronto Raptors to face Chicago Bulls without all-star guard Kyle Lowry

By The Canadian Press
December 30, 2018 - 3:00pm

TORONTO — A sore lower back sidelined Toronto's Kyle Lowry for another game Sunday.

The Raptors played for the seventh time in eight games without their all-star point guard when they hosted the Chicago Bulls.

"You're always concerned," coach Nick Nurse said. "You want an all-star player back as soon as possible. Any of our guys, we want them back as soon as possible. I think we're positive and hopeful that it's going in the right direction and we'll see him back soon."

The Raptors are 3-3 without Lowry, who's averaging 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 9.8 assists in 30 games this season.

His absence was more bad news for an injury-bitten Raptors team already missing centre Jonas Valanciunas, who had surgery for a dislocated thumb on Dec. 13 and was expected to miss at least four weeks.

While Lowry's absence meant more Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright, it also throws Nurse's player rotations out of whack.

"Kyle and Fred got a lot of time together, we played 'em pretty much exclusively late-game last year as a combination, so there's that missing," Nurse said prior to tipoff Sunday. "And then Fred and Delon played kind of exclusively as a duo together in that second unit last year. So they're sort of each out of their own position of a little bit of comfort I think.

"Fred relied on Kyle, Delon relied on Fred, and just kind of let them share things a little bit. Now it's a little bit different scenario."

Nurse said he believed Lowry was "coming to the end" of his back troubles.

Lori Ewing , The Canadian Press

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