Despite being seen practicing shots, there is still no clear timetable for when Kyle Lowry will return to action for the Toronto Raptors.
Whether you’re surprised or not, the Toronto Raptors have done pretty well without the services of Kyle Lowry. Since his injury, the team has gone 12-6, including a current winning streak of six games.
(Shameless plug – I previously offered three reasons why the Raptors would be just fine without the three-time All-Star point guard.)
Having said that, there is no denying the Raptors are better with Lowry in the lineup. In fact, they will need him, if they are to have any chance of repeating — and possibly exceeding — last season’s success in the playoffs.
This naturally leads to the question of when the 31-year old will return to action? In truth, it’s still not entirely clear.
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There was some optimism among fans, when Lowry was seen practicing shots ahead of Saturday’s game in Dallas. Unfortunately, he was taking the shots with his left hand, rather than his injured right hand.
The Raptors are making sure to take a cautious approach with the 2006 first round draft pick. If nothing else, at least he has started light dribbling exercises with his right hand, as he continues to recover from wrist surgery.
As for Lowry himself, he previously claimed he had a return date in mind. He discussed the current state of his wrist injury during an appearance earlier this week on Sportscenter:
"“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can be back and give us a boost before the playoffs, but we’re taking it day-by-day. I’m starting to get some more cardio in, getting on the floor and getting some work done, you know cutting and movement. I’m trying to get my feet ready, just so when I do make my comeback and get back on the floor I’m kind of prepared to play. I know I’m not going to be in game shape, but I’ll be in some kind of shape to go out there and play as hard as I can.”"
The last past of Lowry’s comments are key. In an ideal world the Raptors want him back on the court ahead of the playoffs, but at the same time, you don’t want to rush him back and risk re-aggravating his injury.
Heading into Wednesday’s action, the Raptors sit three back in the Eastern Conference, with eight games remaining. Mathematically at least, they remain in contention for the top spot, with the added incentive of holding the tie-breaker over the Boston Celtics, who currently occupy the first seed.
The next three games should influence how the Raptors handle the Lowry situation. They will play consecutive home fixtures against the Charlotte Hornets, Indian Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers – all very winnable without the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native.
At that point, the Raptors will have a clearer idea of their likely seeding for the playoffs. Ultimately though,all that matters is that Lowry is back and healthy for the first round, which in turn will make the Raptors a more dangerous opponent for anyone they face.
There’s no denying the Raptors should take a slow cautious approach with Lowry’s recovery. However, how important do you think it is for him to see some regular season action? Or would you prefer to just let him rest until the playoffs begin? Share your thoughts in the comments section.