Scottie Barnes' injury is the only thing that could make Raptors' playoff run feel inconsequential

The game seemed poised to be another valuable lesson for the young Raptors. As Toronto got closer and closer to clinching a playoff spot in March and April, coach Nick Nurse spoke about how important it was for his team to get experience in the postseason. It was integral for development.That was how fans could view this series with a sense of ease. Whichever way it went, it was going to be the start of something. As the Raptors failed to impose their will against the bigger, more experienced 76ers in Game 1, the first big plot point seemed predictable. This was a chance for the Raptors to find out what is required of them and what else they might have inside of themselves.

And then, in the fourth quarter, Scottie Barnes, having a sublime playoff debut, especially considering the score, went to stop Joel Embiid’s path to the rim, and the mammoth MVP candidate’s left leg wound up coming down on the precocious rookie’s left ankle. Barnes’ ankle bent dramatically, with Embiid’s weight on top of it.

As Barnes, so strong and durable and resilient this season, banged on the floor with his fists, a thought emerged: The one thing that could turn the playoffs into a largely negative experience for the Raptors was in the process of happening. Thankfully, X-rays were negative, according to Nurse, removing the possibility of broken bones — an obvious relief. Further tests to determine if and when Barnes can return are scheduled for Sunday.

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