Injured Raptors' centre Jonas Valanciunas unsure of potential return | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Injured Raptors' centre Jonas Valanciunas unsure of potential return

Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas (17) reacts after scoring during overtime NBA playoff basketball action against the Miami Heat in Toronto on Thursday, May 5, 2016. Valanciunas hobbled around in a walking cast Monday morning, appearing like he won't be back playing any time soon.The Toronto Raptors centre was ruled out for the rest of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a sprained right ankle, but whether he's done for the season is unclear THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
May 09, 2016 - 9:28 AM

MIAMI - Jonas Valanciunas hobbled around in a walking cast Monday morning, appearing like he won't be back playing any time soon.

The Toronto Raptors centre was ruled out for the rest of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a sprained right ankle, but whether he's done for the season is unclear.

"We're just going to see what's happening," Valanciunas said at Monday morning's shootaround. "It's already got a little bit better overnight. The plan is ice, keeping it high and resting. You do this and see what happens."

The seven-foot centre from Lithuania has been huge for the Raptors in the post-season, averaging 15 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Through three games against the Miami Heat, he averaged 18.3 points and 12.7 boards, and he already had 16 points and 12 rebounds when he injured his ankle in Saturday's Game 3.

The Raptors took a 2-1 series lead into Monday night's Game 4 in Miami. The series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Valanciunas spoke with reporters on Monday morning, scoffing at a chair the Raptors media relations staff had set out for him.

"I can stand," he said, pushing the chair out of the way.

He said the pain's not too bad, "but (playing with the injury) can affect the future so we're treating, doing everything to get better, to heal and we'll see day by day.

"It's tough because I was enjoying playing basketball. I was doing work so right now I cannot think about it, have to just get better and come back."

The blow of losing Valanciunas was lessened when the Heat lost their starting seven-foot centre Hassan Whiteside in Game 3. Whiteside is listed as day-to-day with a sprained knee ligament, but left the arena Saturday in a walking cast.

"It sucks to see both of the go down, honestly," said DeMar DeRozan. "I wish both of those guys could out be there and play. But it's an adjustment we have to make and I'm pretty sure they have to make, too."

The Raptors lost Valanciunas for 22 games to a broken hand in the regular-season, and went 16-6 in his absence.

"We deal with injuries all year," DeRozan said. "We dealt with him being out a while at a critical point of the season and we figured out a way to go from there but it's going to be hard to duplicate the things JV was doing."

The Raptors are hoping to make their first Eastern Conference final appearance in franchise history. The Cleveland Cavaliers await the winner of this series after they swept Atlanta in their semi.

"I have faith in my teammates and they are doing a great job," Valanciunas said. "I'm going to be cheering, going to be doing what I can do to support them and hopefully they're going to win this series and next series I can help them."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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