Casey: DeMarre Carroll will be out ‘a while’ for Raptors

Dwane Casey and Bismack Biyombo discuss the challenges in facing the Milwaukee Bucks, having to bring a hard-fought physical style of play to the table.

The Toronto Raptors do not have a clear timeline for injured small forward DeMarre Carroll.

Carroll, 29, has sat out the past two games for the Raptors with a bruised knee and head coach Dwane Casey doesn’t expect the rugged veteran forward to have a quick recovery.

“He’s still out. He’s going to be a while,” Casey said Friday on The Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “He’s working diligently. He’s trying to get back with us and get that knee stronger. I definitely don’t know when it’s going to be.”

Carroll isn’t only being held back by a knee issue, but a lingering foot injury — plantar fasciitis — that caused him to miss three games in November and is still causing some discomfort.

“You don’t know which [injury] is causing which,” Casey told host Jeff Blair. “I’m not a doctor but you have to be careful of him favouring it over the knee. So you have to be careful from that standpoint. You don’t know which is causing which. Both of them are nagging, bothersome injuries that will keep you from being in great condition.

The Raptors signed Carroll to a four-year, $60-million deal in the summer. He’s played in 18 games this season, averaging 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 34.2 minutes per game.

However, the Raptors have performed fairly well this past week in the absence of their best perimeter defender, beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday before upsetting the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night in Toronto.

Casey credited the Raptors’ versatile bench, allowing role players to lessen the load on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan with Carroll out of the lineup.

“Cory [Joseph] is the hub of that. He can come in and play multiple positions and the key is he can guard multiple positions,” he explained. “He can guard point guards and two-guards. He gives DeMar and Kyle less [pressure] defensively and offensively by handling the basketball. That’s really helped us a lot in those situations.

“Patrick [Patterson] guarded Kawhi Leonard at the three position and James Johnson has been solid in his stints. … We don’t need anything spectacular, just solid. … Cory, Pat and James [have] helped us in the situation since DeMarre has been out.”

Also, Casey has been pleased with the recent play of Terrence Ross, who took over Carroll’s starting spot at small forward.

Ross has racked up 66 minutes over the past two games, scoring 28 points with nine rebounds, two steals, and one block while shooting 11-of-17 from the field including four three-pointers.

“His defence has improved,” Casey said of Ross. “His concentration level has improved on every possession. That’s been his biggest chore. To make sure he stays focused on every possession on offence and defence. Especially when he doesn’t have the ball on the offensive end. Defensively, he’ll have Kris Middleton [Friday night] who’s an excellent scorer. He’s an NBA scorer. Those are the levels he’ll need to bring it to guard the guys like that. He needs to get motivated and stay energized on every possession.”

The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors (14-9) take on the Milwaukee Bucks (9-14) Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

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