BURNABY, B.C. - Otto Porter Jr.'s first season as a Toronto Raptor lasted eight games.

Since his season-ending surgery on his left foot on Jan. 10, 2022, the team's head coach has been replaced and iconic, veteran players have departed.

Porter is looking to use the adversity he faced during his injury rehabilitation to drive himself forward during training camp and the new season.

“It's new. New coaching staff, a lot of new players,” said the 10-year NBA veteran. “We're just trying to figure out how we want to play this year.”

Porter averaged 5.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 18.3 minutes during his first year in Toronto before being shut down.

He missed the first seven games of last season with a left hamstring strain sustained in training camp, followed by personal reasons.

Porter made his debut Nov. 2 against San Antonio, and shortly was out again after sustaining a dislocated toe on Nov. 14. in a win over Detroit.

“When things happen, when you try to bounce back adversity, you pick yourself up, you have good teammates that help you come back,” he said at the Raptors training camp in Burnaby, B.C.

Porter said his rehabilitation lasted every day during the summer to ensure he would be fit for the start of a new season.

His main goal for this season?

“Just to be healthy, get out there, compete,” Porter said.

There have been questions about leadership since the Raptors media day earlier this week, with president Masai Ujiri calling for a change in the team's culture.

Fred VanVleet, a leader in the locker room and on the court for the team, signed a lucrative free-agent deal with the Houston Rockets in the off-season, leaving a hole.

Porter said it's too soon to see the immediate results of that change, but the first signs are promising.

“With Fred leaving, he was such a big part of the leadership of this organization,” said Porter. “I think everybody's doing a good job on the first day of stepping up, talking to each other, that's what it's about.”

The Raptors departed Toronto for Vancouver after their media day on Monday and will spend the week training in Burnaby, a neighbour to Vancouver.

The camp culminates with a game against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday evening at Vancouver's Rogers Arena.

The Raptors are training out of a community centre named after Canadian soccer icon Christine Sinclair, with many of those using the facility unaware the Raptors were practising until they spotted the media.

“This is all we wanted to do,” said Porter. “Playing ball is all we wanted to do. The vibe is better today.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2023.