TORONTO -- Raptors coach Nick Nurse admitted he has been concerned that point guard Kyle Lowry has been sidelined for virtually all of the past two weeks with quad and back issues that have limited him to playing in just one of Toronto's past eight games.
"Yeah, I think a little bit," Nurse said before the Raptors faced the Chicago Bulls here at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday evening. "You're always concerned. You want an All-Star player back as soon as possible.
"Any of our guys, we want them back as soon as possible ... I think we're positive and hopeful that it's going in the right direction, and we'll see him back soon."
Nurse later added that Lowry should return soon.
"We're coming to the end of it," Nurse said.
Since leading the Raptors to emphatic road victories in back-to-back games over the LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors on Dec. 11 and 12, Lowry has only played in one of Toronto's past eight games -- a 126-101 loss to the 76ers in his native Philadelphia on Dec. 22.
Otherwise, Lowry -- who is averaging 14.4 points and a career-high 9.8 assists per game -- has been sidelined first with a quad issue and then for the past three games with a back problem. Toronto has gone 3-3 in the games Lowry has missed and 3-4 overall, all after starting the season with a 23-7 record -- which, at the time, was the best mark in the NBA.
Toronto's recent swoon saw it enter Sunday's game percentage points behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in the league and just 1.5 games ahead of the East's third-place team, the Indiana Pacers.
In addition to Lowry's issues, the Raptors have been hit by a bevy of injuries recently, with several players missing games here and there and center Jonas Valanciunas remaining out indefinitely after dislocating his thumb in the win over Golden State.
"Yeah I've almost forgot about that to be honest because there's been so many guys out, it's like the options are none," Nurse said of the feeling of having a full complement of players. "We're playing the healthiest guys, and the rest of the guys are all getting to play because we've got to play them.
"Everybody's going through it."