All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry is out indefinitely, just as the Toronto Raptors start a stretch of six games in nine days.
The Toronto Raptors gained a much-needed win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night, in the race for second seed in the East. (Whether we like it or not, the Cleveland Cavaliers will clinch the top seed.) However, the victory was notable for the absence of Kyle Lowry.
Understandably, some people will argue the Raptors showed they can win — and against one of the better teams in the league — without Lowry. However, doing this once is fine – repeating the trick regularly, is another thing altogether.
In that respect, the three-time All-Star is out indefinitely with a right wrist injury. All the team can confirm at this stage, is that he will receive further evaluation over the weekend.
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With the exception of the playoffs, Lowry’s absence couldn’t come at a worse time. The Raptors have just started their busiest stretch on the schedule, with six games in nine days.
What makes this more frustrating is that the 30-year old’s absence theoretically could have been avoided. After originally injuring his wrist on February 15th, he still decided to take part in the All-Star festivities.
Lowry’s thinking was he would be able to play through any discomfort and that the wrist would get better. However, it now turns out his decision to participate in the three-point shooting contest and All-Star game was a major miscalculation on his part.
Speaking to the Toronto Star‘s Doug Smith and the rest of the media on Friday, Raptors’ head coach Dwane Casey said:
"“He thought it was going to get better. He did it in the Charlotte game, had treatment over the all-star break down in New Orleans. (He) got treatment, came back last night, got treatment and woke up this morning and it wasn’t any better. It is what it is.”"
Of course, Casey is right in saying “it is what it is”, but it doesn’t change the fact the 2006 first round draft pick should have sat out All-Star Weekend. (And yes, it is appreciated these comments are coming with the benefit of hindsight.)
Regardless of how much DeMar DeRozan has stepped up his game this season, Lowry is still the Raptors’ leader and, arguably, their best player. He is currently averaging career-bests in points and total rebounds, while adding just under seven assists per game.
The recent additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker should offset the absence to some extent. However, it remains to be seen how much Lowry’s gamble of playing during All-Star Weekend comes back to haunt the Raptors.
Do the Raptors have enough depth at the point guard position, to overcome the loss of Lowry? Do the additions of Ibaka and Tucker help alleviate the absence of the three-time All-Star? Share your thoughts in the comments section.