“That’s a blow — that’s a huge blow for us,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Friday evening after announcing the injury. “I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. But, no, it’s not a one-day thing.”
Lowry suffered the injury on Feb. 15 versus Charlotte in the Raptors’ final game before the all-star break. He can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened and didn’t even feel it during the game, but when Lowry woke up the next morning he knew something was up.
“Honestly, I thought I’d slept on it wrong — I thought it would go away,” Lowry said. “It was a little sore, but I paid no attention to it.”
Unconcerned at the time, Lowry didn’t tell anyone but his wife about the wrist pain, and took off for New Orleans where he participated in both the NBA’s three-point contest and all-star game this past weekend. He received some treatment in between his all-star appearances and iced his wrist on and off, but he still saw little cause for alarm.
“I thought over the break it would rest up and heal up,” Lowry said. “But it constantly stayed bothering me.”
When Lowry returned to Toronto Thursday evening he tried to take some shots on the Raptors’ practice court but knew immediately something was still wrong. That’s when he let the Raptors training staff know about the ailment and was sent for medical imaging.
Lowry says he hasn’t received an official diagnosis yet and that the team is hoping to perform more tests on him over the weekend and potentially into next week to determine the cause of the discomfort. And, in turn, he has no idea when he might be able to play again.
“Me knowing me, I’ll be good to go sooner than later. We’ll figure it out. We’ve got good doctors and good trainers,” Lowry said. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious. Hopefully it’s just a little bit of treatment. I’ll do what I have to do and I’ll get back healthy and do the extra work that I need to get done to get back to help my team.”
In the meantime, Cory Joseph took over as Toronto’s starting point guard against the Celtics with second-year guard Delon Wright playing behind him. Rookie guard Fred VanVleet was also recalled from Raptors 905 but didn’t get into Friday night’s game. Joseph played 36 minutes and was a team-high plus-21, adding 11 points and six assists.
“Opportunity rings. Unfortunately, somebody’s down. But I’ve just got to bring my A-game,” Joseph said before the game. “It doesn’t change my [mindset] at all. I’ll prepare the same way. I’ve just got to hopefully get this team off to a good start. We tend to start slow. So, I’m just going to try to bring energy.
“Kyle’s a warrior — I think he’ll be fine,” Joseph added. “Hopefully he gets some well-needed rest that he deserves.”
Joseph played Lowry’s position during long, hard Raptors practices on Wednesday and Thursday, and said he’s already gotten a good feel for playing with new starting power forward Serge Ibaka.
“I’ve already been talking to him during those practices about his tendencies and what he likes to do out there,” Joseph said. “I know his game a little bit. But just to get to hear it from him himself is good, especially as a point guard — just to get on the same page.”
Wright’s presence also makes Lowry’s injury somewhat easier for the Raptors to stomach. He had appeared in only two games this season coming into Friday night after suffering a labral tear in his right shoulder during last year’s Las Vegas Summer League, but he’s played well in that limited exposure, especially in the Feb. 15 game against Charlotte when he scored 11 points and was a plus-11 in 28 minutes.
Wright played the entire fourth quarter of that game as the Raptors’ point guard, with Joseph and Lowry conceding facilitating duties to the 24-year-old.
“Delon played great,” Joseph said. “He really stepped up for us. Brought a lot of energy, made big plays. We’re going to need him to continue to do that.”
Wright wasn’t at his best on Friday, hitting just one of his five attempts in 12 minutes. But he did a good job defending against speedy Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas when tested and contributed enough to give Joseph some crucial rest in the middle of the game.