Apr 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) reacts after falling and being called for a travelling foul against the New York Knicks at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors' Jonas Valanciunas Playing Hurt

In news that will concern the Toronto Raptors and their fans, Jonas Valanciunas is currently playing on a sore foot for the national team in Lithuania. The report was confirmed by Stephen Brotherston, who is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during a break in the action against the Brooklyn Nets in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. Brooklyn defeated Toronto 104-103. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Given how the Raptors organization are looking for Valanciunas to step up this season, this news has to worry them. Of course, the recent horrific injury suffered by the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George doesn’t help matters either.

Lithuanian head coach Jonas Kazlauskas does not think the sore foot is an issue. As he told www.basketnews.it: “Valanciunas has a sort heel, but the problem is not serious.

“When you need to play at maximum capacity, [keeping] the players [safe] is impossible. Valanciunas is working with doctors, his leg pain is reduced and I do not see any serious medical problems.”

As you can imagine, the words of Kazlauskas are not likely to instill the Raptors organization with much confidence. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt Masai Ujiri to send his medical team over to check on their star centre, to put their minds at rest.

As I have stated before, Valanciunas is going to be an integral part of the continued development of a young Raptors team. To lose the likeable 22-year old for any stretch of the 2014-15 campaign could undermine their hopes of a successful season.

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