A freak play, only moments after checking in against the Utah Jazz, resulted in what’s reported as a subluxation of Powell’s left shoulder. Powell switched during an off-ball play to stay in the action and defend a handoff. Staying tight to Royce O’Neil, Powell raised his left arm to deny the handoff from Rudy Gobert. Unfortunately, his arm twisted on Gobert’s body, and Powell immediately left the game.
Powell was in the middle of a bounce-back season. His statistics were up from last year across the board, his turnovers were down, and he was shooting drastically better percentages, from Basketball Reference.
A season after seeming lost in the rotation and on the court, Powell had lifted himself into a position where he was contributing consistently off the bench. Bench lineups featuring Powell have been defensively stout so far this season, allowing only 100.5 points per 100 possession, per CTG. Powell has been playing well enough that he’s even started as the small forward when Kawhi Leonard has rested. Powell’s individual defence has improved, and most importantly, he has been shooting 40.9 percent from deep.
Powell will be missed. Malachi Richardson could see extra time as a bench wing, though my expectation is that Nick Nurse simply redistributes his minutes among established rotation players in Delon Wright, Fred Van Vleet, and CJ Miles. Richardson will likely only play spot minutes when Leonard is sitting as well.
Though Powell is listed as indefinite, reports are that he could be back on the court in as few as four weeks. The season is not lost for Powell, and he could return around Christmas to help the Raptors’ in the second half of their season.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly used ‘tear’ instead of ‘subluxation’ to describe the injury.