The Raptors will be forced to battle the Rockets without most of their coaching staff.
Toronto announced that head coach Nick Nurse and five assistant coaches will not be on the bench for Friday’s game against Houston because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. This will mark the first instance in which the health and safety protocols have kept a head coach and multiple staff members off the sideline.
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As of Friday afternoon, the Raptors had not revealed any additional details regarding who would serve as the head coach with Nurse out. It is also unclear whether the coaches tested positive for COVID-19 or whether they were flagged for being in close contact to an infected person. They are expected to continue working remotely.
General manager Bobby Webster was scheduled to speak with the media Friday night and provide an update before the Raptors-Rockets game, which is being held at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., Toronto’s temporary home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
(UPDATE: The Raptors announced that assistant Sergio Scariolo will coach the team. Scariolo is also the Spanish national team coach. Sportsnet reported that Scariolo exited quarantine Friday morning after returning to the U.S. from an overseas trip to coach Spain in Eurobasket qualifying.)
After losing eight of their first 10 games this season, the Raptors bounced back and have jumped all the way up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They last played the 76ers on Wednesday, and they have four games remaining before the 2021 All-Star break.