Toronto Raptors: How long will Jonas Valanciunas be out?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Jonas Valanciunas
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Jonas Valanciunas /

Jonas Valanciunas suffered an ankle injury during the second quarter of Saturday night’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, but will he miss any games for the Toronto Raptors?

Jonas Valanciunas entered the 2017-18 season with plenty of uncertainty surrounding his future with the Toronto Raptors. Would he ever become a focal point on the team, would he remain in the starting lineup, would he be traded and so.

You get the feeling Valanciunas would prefer to stay in Toronto, hence his performances during the preseason. His enthusiasm showed his determination to adapt to Dwane Casey’s new offensive schemes and prove his worth.

This enthusiasm carried over into the first game of the regular season, as the 25-year-old dominated the Chicago Bulls. With 23 points and 15 rebounds, he was arguably the Raptors’ best player.

Valanciunas seemed set to continue his fine start on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, with five points and four boards in the early going. And then disaster struck.

After going up for a rebound in the second quarter, the 2011 fifth overall draft pick landed on Dario Saric‘s foot. He was fouled and shot his free throws, but then he left the game.

Shortly after, Valanciunas went into the locker room. However, while he didn’t seem to be limping significantly, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a sprained left ankle.

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At the time, the assumption was Casey didn’t feel the need to take any risks, especially with the Toronto Raptors firmly in control of the game. However, as reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, Valanciunas will have an MRI.

Understandably, this leads to questions of how long the Lithuanian international will be out of action? While the injury didn’t look to serious, it depends on how his ankle reacted overnight.

However, let’s go on the assumption Valanciunas suffered a Grade I minor sprain. These theoretically can take just a few days to recover from, but as per, it could take as long as two weeks.

It will be a shame if the centre has to miss any games, given the way he has started the season. If nothing else, it ruins his momentum, but we’ll wait to find out more, sometime on Sunday or Monday.

Assuming Valanciunas does miss playing time, his place in the starting lineup will probably be taken by Lucas Nogueira. However, it would also present an opportunity for Jakob Poeltl to get more minutes.

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Are you concerned at all about Valanciunas potentially missing any playing time? Further, what kind of season are you predicting for him? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.