The Celtics new-look frontline took a hit on the depth chart Friday, as Brad Stevens ruled out starting center Enes Kanter with a knee contusion for both games this weekend against the Raptors and Knicks.
Kanter suffered the injury in the first half of Wednesday's opener after as a Sixers player slid into Kanter's legs. He will be re-evaluated early next week.
“I guess it was from the play in the first half where it looked like his knee buckled," Stevens said. "Probably could have been a lot worse but thankfully it wasn’t. He felt pretty good at halftime. He got checked at halftime but it stiffened up as the game went on and that’s why he didn’t go back in at the end of the game, the last six or seven minutes of the game.”
Kanter played well in the opener despite his injury, posting 12 points and 6 rebounds while helping to limit Joel Embiid to 15 points with solid post defense. The challenge gets tougher for the undersized C's tonight as they face a formidable Raptors frontline that features Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka.
“They’re great," Stevens said of the defending champs. "I think everybody forgets they were 17-5 without Kahwi. And if you watch them play in the preseason, they’ve been awesome. They went to Brooklyn and they looked great. They were good the other night. Probably not as good as the Brooklyn game. They’ve got a bunch of guys who play with great speed, they know what they’re supposed to do, they’re extreme competitors. They put heat on you on both ends of the floor for 48 minutes. It’s going to be really tough. It’s going to be a good second test of the season for us."
All of the C's remaining healthy centers are likely to get an opportunity on Friday night against the Raptors big frontcourt. The question now is where Brad Stevens will turn in the middle without his most experienced piece to start. A rundown of the options and how they match up against Toronto: