Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington, left, blocks a shot by Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell during first half NBA preseason basketball action in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Carlson

Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington, left, blocks a shot by Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell during first half NBA preseason basketball action in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Carlson

Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell questionable for team’s opener in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. — Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell is questionable for Wednesday night’s season opener against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse says the team is waiting until closer to game time to determine Powell’s status.

Nurse says just because the team is waiting does not mean there is necessarily a positive test for COVID-19.

“I would imagine this is the first of many times on game day that we’re going to be talking about this,” Nurse said. “And I would just encourage everybody that because we’re waiting, there’s a lot of things that go into this. And because we’re waiting, it certainly doesn’t mean there’s a positive test or any of that kind of stuff.

“There’s just some protocols that we’re waiting to get through and hopefully we’ll have some more information shortly, knowing whether it’ll be ready to go tonight, and as soon as we get that info, you guys will have it, I’m sure.”

The Raptors have said three members of their organization tested positive prior to training camp.

Powell had the best season of his career last year, averaging 16 points on 49.5 per-cent shooting from the field.

Nurse said he’s used to roster uncertainty from his time coaching in leagues at lower levels.

“I think we had a rule back in the minors that an hour before tip, you had to put your official lineup out there, who was playing tonight, and it usually went till that hour until you knew who you had exactly,” he said. “So it gives you a full 60 minutes to digest and game plan and figure out your rotations and all that stuff. So I’ve had some good training for that.”

The Raptors are playing home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., for at least the first half of the season because of COVID-19 border restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press