DeMarre Carroll’s Return This Season In Doubt

5:40pm: The swingman says he will “ramp up'” his recovery from knee surgery and that he hopes to play in a couple games prior to the end of regular season, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

12:35pm: Carroll has recently sought second opinions and chatted with the doctor who performed his surgery, and he’ll escalate the intensity of his training if he receives assurance that his knee is OK, Grange writes. The way the knee responds in the next week to 10 days is crucial, as Grange details.

WEDNESDAY, 9:34am: Reports conflict over Carroll’s status, with Sportsnet’s Michael Grange hearing that he’s expected to resume on-court activity as soon as today amid optimism that he’ll be back in games before the end of the regular season (Twitter links). Wolstat insists pessimism still exists on that front (Twitter link). Coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday that he expects Carroll to return this season.

TUESDAY, 1:01pm: Every indication is that DeMarre Carroll has suffered some kind of setback that has cast serious doubt on his ability to return this season, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. The team’s prize offseason acquisition was reportedly likely to return by month’s end from the right knee surgery he had in early January, but Carroll’s status has been shrouded in mystery the past few weeks, as Wolstat details. Some around the league raised the possibility of Carroll missing the rest of the season when he had the surgery, as Wolstat reported then, but the Raptors were confident at that point that he would be back.

Carroll was driving to the basket against assistant coaches and shooting 3-pointers a few weeks ago as he awaited clearance for contact, but the team has been quiet about him since, and he’s been in Atlanta tending to personal business, Wolstat writes. Rookie Norman Powell has impressed in a fill-in role, but he’s far from Carroll’s equal, and Kyle Lowry‘s balky right elbow is clearly affecting his shot and has become a major concern, as Wolstat examines.

Toronto doesn’t have much roster flexibility with 15 players signed through season’s end. The team is devoid of other injuries aside from a minor hand issue for Terrence Ross, so a hardship exception for a 16th roster spot isn’t in play. The deadline for a disabled player exception has long since passed, and no one the team could add at the back end of its roster would realistically make up for the potential loss of Carroll anyway.

The Raptors signed the 3-and-D extraordinaire to a four-year, $58MM contract this past summer after he had a career year with the Hawks last season. Toronto has nonetheless done well without him, going 28-10 since he last played.

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