Raptors Anunoby return from appendectomy for NBA Finals 'questionable'
Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 30, 2019 8:37AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 30, 2019 10:26AM EDT
TORONTO -- OG Anunoby was forced to sit out and watch from the sidelines this post-season as his Toronto Raptors teammates dismantled team after team en route to the first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.
Missing out on key moments and big plays from three thrilling playoff rounds didn't sit well for the second-year forward.
But he's getting closer to making a return to game action following an emergency appendectomy last month.
"Yeah it's boring (to not play, but) I can't control it," Anunoby said Wednesday, one day before the Raptors were set to host Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
"It's been hard not being able to play but (I'm) still supporting my team, watching them on film, watching the guys play, I'm learning a lot."
The Raptors upgraded Anunoby's status to questionable before the match.
Anunoby has missed the entire post-season after having an appendectomy on April 12 -- one day before Toronto began its first-round series against the Orlando Magic.
The 21-year-old confirmed Wednesday that his appendix had burst before having surgery, then an infection complicated the aftermath of the procedure.
Anunoby said he wasn't aware how serious his condition was before finding out he needed surgery.
"My stomach was hurting, I was having headaches, but I didn't think anything of it," he said. "The day before (having surgery) my stomach was hurting really bad and I couldn't sleep. Then I just told the (Raptors) staff and they did a test and sent me to the emergency room."
Raptors coach Nick Nurse said earlier this week that Anunoby, who hasn't played since April 9, could return for the later stages of the championship series.
Anunoby also hopes to be active at some point in the series but admitted Wednesday that he's still in some pain.
"It's not as bad as it used to be," he said.
"The pain (was) very severe ... I couldn't walk, I couldn't get up. It hurt for a couple weeks after (the surgery)."
Anunoby has been working out over the last week and has progressed to "a little bit of contact stuff."
"I've done conditioning and shooting. A lot of shooting," Anunoby said.
"(The rehab) is slower because it's stuff on the inside so you can't really control how fast and how much you do," he added. "Just taking it day by day."
Anunoby was his usual straight-faced self as he fielded questions from a throng of reporters during a massive media event at Scotiabank Arena.
He only cracked a smile when comedian Guillermo Rodriguez, recording a bit for Jimmy Kimmel Live, poured maple syrup into a shot glass and asked if he would do a "Canadian shot" with him.
"Cheers, O Canada," Rodriguez said before downing the syrup. But Anunoby didn't oblige.
"I'm allergic," he said with a laugh. "But I'll say O Canada."
Anunoby said he's been impressed with how the Raptors have fared in the playoffs -- but not surprised.
"We came into the season with high expectations, we expected to be in the Finals," he said. "It's been adversity in each series but we just stayed the course."
"We play well together, never stop competing," he added. "We never give up, we're really relentless."