Even with the playoffs within striking distance, the Toronto Raptors aren't going to push their stars too hard down the stretch.
The team has officially ruled out both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet for Tuesday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks. Lowry, who returned on Sunday after a six-game absence due to a right foot infection, will be out due to rest, the team says. VanVleet continues to be sidelined with a left hip injury and is yet to serve his one-game suspension for stepping onto the court during the OG Anunoby's altercation with Dennis Schroder last week.
Lowry's night off continues Toronto's recent trend of resting its top players during this jampacked portion of the schedule. The Raptors gave Pascal Siakam the night off on Saturday before letting OG Anunoby rest on Sunday.
"We've had a super heavy schedule and it doesn't get any heavier than coming ahead, so we're trying to figure out, I don't know, these guys are playing super heavy minutes because of the circumstances," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said last week. "We'll probably do a little exchanging of players here and there, just for safety."
Toronto has, however, upgraded Paul Watson Jr. to questionable as the 26-year-old guard works his way back from almost three weeks in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.