Jonas Valanciunas hopeful he can return to Raptors on road trip

NBA insider Alvin Williams discusses with Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup why this is a good time to get this really tough Western road trip out of the way early, but hopes Steph Curry will be in the lineup when the Raptors visit Golden State.

Opening a six-game West Coast road trip Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors are likely going to need all the help they can get.

During Saturday’s contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, starting centre Jonas Valanciunas left the game with an ankle injury that has him out indefinitely on a day-to-day basis now. However, speaking to reporters in San Antonio Monday, it looks as if Valanciunas is feeling optimistic about his chances to return to action sooner than later.

Six games is a lot of time, and it’s entirely possible he doesn’t return during this road swing at all, but it’s encouraging news that the big Lithuanian seems optimistic about his health.

Before exiting Saturday’s game, Valanciunas had five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes played. In Toronto’s season opener last Thursday, he put up a strong 23-point, 15-rebound effort.

Even if Valanciunas is unable to go Monday, the Raptors find themselves in a bit of luck as star San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard won’t play as he continues to recover from a quadricep injury.