After three quiet performances at the start of his team’s series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors big man Serge Ibaka bounced back in a big way with a 12-point, nine-rebound showing in a much-needed Game 4 victory. On Tuesday evening, the Raptors aimed to take complete control during Game 5 at home but, before things could really get off the ground, Ibaka went down in a heap as a result of an inadvertent elbow.
As you can see, Ibaka’s injury was caused by “friendly fire” (as it was described by the great Ian Eagle), with Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard making contact with his head. Immediately, blood began to surface for Ibaka in a way that wasn’t easy to watch and he was quickly taken to the locker room for work from the training staff.
Ibaka has been operating in a reserve role for the Raptors but, in the same breath, his versatility is valuable and Toronto’s bench has famously struggled over the course of the series. Eventually, Ibaka was able to return to Toronto’s bench and started the second quarter with a bandage on his head after a few stitches.
It’s big news for Toronto that Ibaka was able to get back after the elbow, as he provides important frontcourt depth off the bench. Still, this was a scary sight for fans in the 6 on Tuesday night.