The 33-year-old hasn’t played since Nov. 8, when he helped the Raptors knock off the opposing New Orleans Pelicans but suffered a fractured left thumb in the process.
In the 11 games of Lowry’s absence, Toronto has gone 9–2 and climbed to the two seed in the Eastern Conference thanks to the sudden and unexpected emergence of various depth pieces and the improved play of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.
Head coach Nick Nurse said Lowry will not be on a minutes restriction against the Heat, but going forward he and VanVleet will see their average floor time go down from where it was at the start of the season.
“I don’t think we wanna hover around 40 consistently like we’d been doing. I think to start the year I played ’em that high because I wasn’t ready to see those other guys. I think I was mad at them the first eight games of the year. We’re not as mad at ’em anymore,” Nurse said. “We will hopefully try to take those downs. I think we’ve historically known that Kyle’s operated best for a full season when he gets around the 32, 33-minute mark for where he should settle in for the year. And probably similar for Fred, if we can get him, I’ll probably shoot for 35 now just to work our way down a little bit.”
Lowry got off to a hot start prior to being sidelined, putting up numbers similar to that of his best individual season back in 2016–17. Over the course of the eight games he’s played, he’s averaging 21.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists on a career-best 47.8 per cent shooting from the field and 42.6 per cent from three-point range.
The Raptors currently hold a seven-game win streak, which they will put on the line against Miami.