Raptors' Kyle Lowry to return from ankle injury in Game 1 against Celtics
NBA club clinched series win over Nets a week ago with all-star guard out of lineup
The Toronto Raptors say all-star guard Kyle Lowry is cleared to play in Sunday's Round 2 series opener at 1 p.m. ET against Boston after spraining his ankle while stepping on the foot of Brooklyn's Chris Chiozza early in the team's series-clinching win a week ago.
The Celtics are the only team to beat Toronto in the club's 12 games during the NBA restart.
Lowry practised Saturday for the first time in three days.
Toronto, which sports a 12-2 record without the six-time all-star in the lineup, rallied to complete its four-game sweep of Brooklyn with the bench scoring an NBA-record 100 points in a 150-122 rout of the Nets on Aug. 23. The Raptors' 150 points marked a franchise best.
WATCH | Kyle Lowry leaves series-clinching win over Nets:
Lowry appeared to roll his left ankle when he stepped on the foot of Chiozza, briefly attempted to keep playing but then hopped to the locker room with 2:48 left in the first quarter at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla. He had two points and three assists in nine minutes.
In a stunning development, Raptors will start Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, Siakam and Gasol and Celtics going with Walker, Smart, Brown, Tatum, Theis—@SmithRaps
"It would hurt us a lot," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said at the time on the prospect of playing without Lowry. "You guys know how big a cog he is to this whole thing. He's our most experienced, toughest leader we got."
Celtics took season series
Nurse noted Lowry played the remainder of the team's historic championship run last season after damaging ligaments in his left thumb in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.
"It's gonna take something pretty serious to keep him out," the coach said recently.
Toronto faces the Celtics for the first time in post-season history after Boston eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers in four games.
The Celtics won three of the four regular-season meetings with the Raptors, including a 22-point victory on Aug. 7 inside the NBA bubble.
Boston is also banged up, with forward Gordon Hayward potentially sidelined a month with a sprained right ankle. Shooting guard Javonte Green and point guard Tremont Waters also won't play Sunday, according to reports.
However, both teams have the ability to spread their scoring around. Toronto is the first team with five players averaging 15 points per game since the 1973-74 Buffalo Braves. Boston has three players averaging more than 20 points per game in Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown.
With files from The Canadian Press