Title: ‘Being who I am, not thinking about being injured’: Pascal Siakam’s resurgent Game 5 lifts Raptors
Date: May 7, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about Pascal Siakam bouncing back and fighting through a calf injury to help lift the Raptors in Game 5 against the 76ers.
As James Ennis drove for an off-balance layup, Pascal Siakam pushed off both feet coming over in help defence.
Over the weekend, Siakam’s ability to do just that was called into question. He’d suffered a right calf contusion toward the end of Game 3 – he’s unclear exactly when – and the injury threatened to keep him out of Game 4. A day of rest and treatment got him ready, barely, for a 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon tip-off.
Siakam deserves a world of credit for gutting that one out. The calf is, quite obviously, a central part of most basketball movements. For a player who sprints as much and as fast as Siakam, the discomfort associated would be perpetual. He is fast-twitch and big-burst, his explosiveness at the centre of a lot of what makes him maybe the highest-motored skill player in the NBA right now. Pushing off for shot contests, for rebounds, for largely errant 3-point attempts, came with a labouring that was plain to see. He turned in his worst performance of the playoffs, a stout and spirited defensive effort with a 2-for-10 shooting mark and an uncharacteristic minus-five in a five-point victory.
“It’s feeling better. I think just every day, kind of like, it’s my calf, and it’s my hamstring, so it’s both combined,” Siakam said. “The staff is doing a great job to make sure that I get treatment, keep icing, and keep taking care of it. It’s going to need some rest, but we don’t have time, so I just have to do my best to make sure when game time comes I’m ready.”
Two days later, here was Siakam lurking on the weak side of the paint. Ennis had beaten Danny Green to the nail and navigated a potential Kyle Lowry drawn charge, contorting his body away from the rim in an attempt to bank it cleanly off the glass. Siakam gathered and exploded upward, bouncing Ennis’ attempt off the backboard.