TORONTO – With a little under three minutes to play in the first quarter of the Toronto Raptors’ scrimmage with the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet took a nasty looking spill, immediately asked to be taken out of the game and headed straight for the locker room.
A scary sight for Raptors fans fearing the worst for VanVleet, one of the team’s best and most popular players, after he went knee-on-knee with Blazers guard Anfernee Simons.
Thankfully, Raptors fans can breathe easy. VanVleet, by the sound of things, is going to be OK.
“Yeah, I’m alright,” VanVleet when asked about how his knee was feeling in a conference call Monday evening.
VanVleet was seen on the Raptors bench Sunday and Toronto coach Nick Nurse also played it off as not that big a deal after the game Sunday night, but fans will be comforted to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
Similarly, a bad-sounding situation with Patrick McCaw also seems to be resolving nicely.
Before Sunday’s scrimmage, Nurse gave an update on McCaw, who didn’t play in Friday’s first scrimmage and was ruled out Sunday, saying he was dealing with “a recurring thing that he’s already been out for.”
There were no other specifics offered over what exactly this “thing” was, but it wasn’t sounding good, until Nurse offered another more encouraging update on Monday.
“He’s gotta work through it,” said Nurse of McCaw’s undisclosed injury. “I think it’s something he’s got to play through, we’ve just got to let it calm down a little bit. I think it’s OK, we don’t expect there to be any major issues or problems with him playing here. So just, again, take our time a little bit. I think we’d expect him at the weekend.”
This is all good news for the Raptors, who, after dealing with injury bug all season long, finally look to be at full strength when their season officially restarts this coming Saturday. They just need to make it through Tuesday afternoon’s scrimmage-finale tilt with the Phoenix Suns all intact.
• A very cool sight during Monday’s media session was VanVleet and Nurse wearing Toronto-centric Black Lives Matter masks created by local designer Nadia Lloyd.
You can purchase this mask and other Black Lives Matter designs by her at nadialloyd.com.
• VanVleet said Monday that because he’s not in a rhythm yet, he isn’t digging the vibe of playing in an empty arena yet, but will eventually adjust. One thing VanVleet has enjoyed about bubble basketball, however, has been the extra space afforded for players on the base line and along the sidelines without cameramen and fans courtside crowding things.
“Don’t it look so beautiful out there on TV without all those guys and their feet sticking out down there behind the basket? It looks really good, players got a lot of room on the bench, it’s so much better without having to cram too many people in a tiny space,” said VanVleet. “I hope all of those guys get their jobs back once this is all over. I don’t want anybody to lose their job, but it’s definitely a more beautiful landscape to look at when you’re looking at the court without those big feet sticking out there underneath the hoop.”