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Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green (14) celebrates after controlling a jump ball with seconds left in NBA basketball action against the Indiana Pacers in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Danny Green – what was left of him – sauntered slowly over to the clutch of reporters waiting to hear him speak after the Toronto Raptors practice on Thursday and wearily angled his 6-foot-6-inch frame against a wall.

Green, wearing comfortable sandals instead of basketball shoes, had both of his knees wrapped heavily with ice to try to ease the soreness.

His right eye was still largely choked by red after suffering an abrasion in Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets when it was poked by an errant Monte Morris finger.

And Green is one of the lucky Raptors. At least he is still able to play – which is more than can be said for Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas, all missing in action for Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

Despite the lengthy injury list, the Raptors pulled another rabbit out of the hat – playing poorly for the most part but sparking to life in the fourth quarter to beat the visiting Pacers 99-96 and end a two-game losing slide. The Raptors, 24-9, have the best record in the NBA.

“It was an ugly one from the start,” Green surmised of the Pacers game, in which the Raptors trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. “The fourth was good, we showed some character. We came out. It was a gutsy, gritty win. I was surprised that we were still even in the game, how bad we were playing.

“At moments we were playing hard, but I just think we were stuck in mud, couldn’t get our legs, couldn’t get our rhythm, couldn’t get a flow.”

The Raptors won despite the absence of Lowry, their bulldog starting point guard, who missed his fourth successive game with what the team is describing as a thigh contusion. Ibaka, who has been sharing the starting centre duties with Valanciunas, was out resting his habitual sore right knee.

Valanciunas missed his fourth game with a dislocated left thumb and is still weeks from return.

The Raptors only recently welcomed back from sick bay Norm Powell, who missed 19 games with a left shoulder injury, while Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam have been battling periodic back soreness.

If any team needs a break, it’s the Raptors. But they’ve got a game Friday night at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers before travelling to Philadelphia to play the Sixers on Saturday.

Only then can they enjoy a bit of a mini-break through Christmas. They play in Miami against the Heat on Boxing Day.

Green, for one, is looking forward to some rest and relaxation. He is the only Raptor to have played in all 33 games – all starts.

“I am, for sure,” Green said. “I think some of the other guys … are pretty banged up, got some bumps and bruises.

“Hopefully get KLow [Lowry] back, Serge. That would be great. Obviously, we know JV’s got some time, we’ve got Norm back now, which helps. Fred is back, in and out – he’s got some back problems. But if we can keep guys healthy, I think that’s the main goal right now so we can get our chemistry back.”

But it will probably have to be accomplished, at least in the short term, without Lowry or Ibaka, if one is able to decipher the comments of Toronto coach Nick Nurse.

Nurse said both Lowry and Ibaka are questionable – sort of – for games against Cleveland and Philadelphia.

“Kyle is not going to be probably ready for this weekend and Serge is probably questionable,” Nurse said. “I would say Kyle is leaning towards the not-so-favourable and Serge is right in the middle.”

The news on Lowry, the team assist leader with 10 a game – second in the NBA behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook with 10.4 – sounds a bit ominous. It was originally felt he would bounce back quickly from the thigh soreness.

“Well, he’s got the thigh contusion and it’s kind of leading to some other issues I think too, with some spasms here and there so we are trying to navigate through that,” Nurse said. “It’s a little like Norm a while back, where we thought he was making a lot of improvement and then all of a sudden there was a setback and then that setback went away.

“These things are tricky.”

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