Losing Jared Sullinger before the start of the regular season isn’t the way the Toronto Raptors wanted to kick off the 2016-17 campaign.

The forward, who joined the Raptors as a free agent in July, was scheduled to undergo foot surgery Monday and will be out of commission for the foreseeable future.

Sullinger was slated to be the team’s new starting power forward, so head coach Dwane Casey must decide how he’s going to fill that void. Casey, entering his sixth season as Raptors bench boss, is optimistic about the many options he has at his disposal.

“Unfortunate for Jared because he was going to be such an important piece but it’s a great opportunity for other players, for Pascal Siakam if we decide to start him, and Patrick Patterson will be able to take more minutes and have more of a role,” Casey told Dean Blundell & Co. Monday morning. “And our younger guys, Jakob Poeltl will have an opportunity because Jared was going to play some backup five in that situation so Lucas Nogueira will get opportunities to play some backup minutes behind [Jonas Valanciunas], so I don’t really like saying the term ‘next man up’ because it means something bad has happened but it’s an opportunity for other players to step in and do their job.”

Casey singled out rookies Siakam and Poeltl in particular as players he has high expectations for.