Originally projected to be absent for three weeks, Fred VanVleet will now miss about five weeks of action for the Toronto Raptors.
When we shared news on Monday that Fred VanVleet would be out for three weeks, we declared this was no reason to panic. After all, the Toronto Raptors were just starting their longest home stand of the season and the All-Star break was looming.
That’s because, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, VanVleet will undergo surgery for ligament damage in his left thumb. As a result, he is now expected to miss approximately five weeks of action.
Based on the original projection of three weeks, VanVleet would have only missed seven games for the Raptors. Along with the six-game home stand, the combo of Lin, Norman Powell and Jordan Lloyd was expected to be more than enough to back up Kyle Lowry at the point guard position.
More from Toronto Raptors
- Toronto Raptors: Christian Koloko Highlights 2022 Summer League roster
- Toronto Raptors re-sign Chris Boucher, add Otto Porter Jr
- Toronto Raptors should not enter the Kevin Durant sweepstakes
- Toronto Raptors reportedly closing on extensions with VanVleet and Young
- Toronto Raptors get what they need in drafting Christian Koloko
However, with the new projection of around five weeks, the number of missed games essentially doubles, to 14. Under this assumption, only 11 regular season games will remain when VanVleet returns to the court.
In theory, this alone should still not constitute a reason to panic. However, it does potentially become a symptom of an overall issue of less quality depth for the Raptors, especially since the loss of Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles in exchange for Marc Gasol.
In addition, there is the situation with Kawhi Leonard‘s knee. As much as we understand the Raptors wanting to bring him along slowly after his injury problems last season, at some point he has to play more.
In this respect, Leonard will miss Wednesday night’s contest with the Washington Wizards, due to his sore knee. This will mean he has sat out 16 of the first 59 games of the regular season.
Are the Raptors still being cautious, or is there an underlying lingering issue that we are unaware of? We have nothing concrete to support this potential concern for Raptors fans, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind as we move forward, as the team aims to remain near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Returning to VanVleet, he will be missed by the Raptors. While not playing as well as last season, he is still on course for career highs in points, assists and rebounds per game. (Albeit due to increased minutes.)
However, the Raptors should still have enough to overcome the 24-year-old absence, even allowing for the extended recovery time. The team will only suffer during the next five weeks, if Lowry is forced to miss more playing time with his ongoing back issues.
Does VanVleet’s extended absence concern you? Or do you still expect the Toronto Raptors to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference standings? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.