Raptors Guard Fred VanVleet Out 5 Weeks With Thumb Injury

    The Raptors will be without one of their key rotation players for the early part of their push to the top of the Eastern Conference. According to Stadium

    February 13, 2019

    The Raptors will be without one of their key rotation players for the early part of their push to the top of the Eastern Conference.

    According to Stadium NBA Insider Shams Charania, Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet will miss five weeks after suffering ligament damage to his thumb. VanVleet will undergo surgery for the injury, per Charania. He is averaging 10.5 points and 4.6 assists per game this season.

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    As Toronto looks to separate itself in the Eastern Conference, VanVleet’s absence will have a significant impact. Even with the addition of Jeremy Lin, the Raptors are suddenly thin on secondary ball handlers with Delon Wright heading to Memphis in the Marc Gasol trade. VanVleet is a low-usage distributor who can create for Toronto’s shooters. He was a great lead guard on the Raptors’ second unit and can also fit in with Kyle Lowry and the starters. Toronto’s depth will definitely be tested with VanVleet sidelined.

    On the season, VanVleet is shooting 36.6 percent from deep but he’s turned it on recently. Over the last 16 games, he was converting 38.7 percent of his deep shots. The Raptors are currently 25th in 3-point percentage as a team, and they’re losing a strong shooter at a time when they want to start trending upwards. VanVleet should return for the stretch run at the end of the regular season, but re-integrating him into an adjusted rotation might take time and stretch into the playoffs.

    Fortunately for Toronto, the schedule softens up after the All-Star break. The Raptors have already played the top teams in the East 14 times with only one matchup remaining after the break. They have the easiest remaining schedule according to Tankathon.com based on the combined winning percentages of their remaining opponents. Losing VanVleet is unfortunate, but the schedule allows the Raptors to have some margin for error.

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