There was nothing easy about Pascal Siakam's decision to get surgery this offseason.
For 27 years, the Toronto Raptors' star forward went unscathed. He'd never been under the knife, never had to deal with anything like shoulder surgery before. Growing up in Cameroon, there was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a "remedy or something," he said. But for the first time in his life, this was different.
After injuring his shoulder back on May 8, Siakam took some time to mull over his options. He was frank about his decision during his Monday media day press conference, he didn't want surgery. Just the idea of it was scary, he said. But he soon realized he didn't have much of a choice.
"It was either I play every season hoping and being scared you’ll be injured or you just take care of it for the rest of your career," Siakam said. "I think it was an easy decision once you thought about it. I was really skeptical about it. But at the end of the day, it was the best decision."
Almost four months into Siakam's recovery, things appear to be going very well. He's progressed to 1-on-0 workouts and, according to Nick Nurse, Siakam is looking really good these days.
"I mean if you went into the gym and saw him working out, you wouldn't know that he was anything," Nurse said. "I mean he's moving full speed. He's in great shape, his conditioning looks good. He's done a great job — you wouldn't know."
An exact timeline for Siakam's return remains up in the air for now. It was initially considered an injury that would require approximately five months which would coincide with American Thanksgiving, an approximate date Sportsnet's Michael Grange has reported Monday.
In the meantime, the Raptors are preparing to fill the void with an all-hands-on-deck approach. Rookie first-round pick Scottie Barnes will play a huge role, Nurse said, OG Anunoby will be asked to take on some more of the offensive load, and Chris Boucher and Gary Trent Jr. will certainly chip in.
"Obviously it'll be a bit of a setback at the start because he's our primary guy and a guy we're super reliant on to provide a lot on both ends," Nurse said. "We'll miss him until he gets back but let's hope it's not too long."