The Raptors announced Friday that head coach Nick Nurse, as well as five assistant coaches, would be unavailable for Toronto's game in Tampa, Florida, on Friday night against the Houston Rockets due to the NBA's health and safety protocols.
The Raptors, who have rebounded from a 2-8 start to get back into the playoff picture in the East and within a game of .500 entering Friday night's game, said the coaches will continue to work remotely but gave no indication as to who would coach the team in Nurse's absence. General manager Bobby Webster was scheduled to speak with the media and provide an update on the situation later Friday afternoon.
Toronto was already down an assistant coach after Chris Finch was hired by the Minnesota Timberwolves to replace Ryan Saunders as their head coach Monday. Another assistant, Sergio Scariolo, was already in quarantine after returning to the United States after serving in his other role as head coach of the Spanish national team for qualifying games for EuroBasket 2022 earlier this month.
It is unclear whether Scariolo will be out of quarantine in time to be on the bench for Friday night's game.
Despite having most of Toronto's coaching staff unavailable for today's game, the NBA ultimately ruled that any contact tracing would not extend to the players, which allowed Friday night's game to be played. The league reviews all of these decisions on a case-by-case basis, depending on how much time people are around someone who tests positive, whether masks were worn and other factors.
That has, at times, led to some controversy, like when the league initially ruled Kevin Durant couldn't play against the Raptors shortly before the game began earlier this month -- only for Durant to then be allowed to play during the first quarter and then yanked back out of the game again in the third quarter due to health and safety protocols.
The Raptors last played Wednesday, when they lost in Miami to the Heat. They lost to the Philadelphia 76ers at home on Tuesday.
Toronto is spending this season in Tampa because of border restrictions and quarantine requirements for those crossing the U.S.-Canada border. The Raptors also had to spend extra time in Florida ahead of the NBA's bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort outside Orlando last summer for the same reason.