8:52am: Plantar fasciitis and scarring from previous issues, combined with the right knee surgery, are fueling “murmurs” around the league that Carroll might be done for the rest of the season, but the Raptors have a quiet confidence that he’ll be back before season’s end, Wolstat explains in a full piece.
2:16pm: Carroll definitely won’t play this month or next, and the hope is that he returns in late March or April, Wolstat tweets. Eight weeks, the outer limit of the preliminary timetable reported by Grange and Arthur, as well as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com (Twitter link), would put Carroll back in late February.
1:29pm: One initial estimate places Carroll out six to eight weeks, as Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star hears (Twitter link), so that largely jibes with Grange’s report of an eight-week timeframe.
WEDNESDAY, 11:59am: Early indications are that DeMarre Carroll will miss the next eight weeks, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange (Twitter link), after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this morning. “Mixed signals” exist on whether Carroll will play again for the Raptors this season, tweets Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, in the wake of the team’s announcement of Carroll’s procedure. Point guard Kyle Lowry insists Carroll will not miss the rest of the season, Wolstat notes in the same tweet, though the team didn’t release a timetable. Coach Dwane Casey said it will be a lengthy absence, though the hope is that Carroll, Toronto’s highest-paid player, will return for the postseason, Wolstat relays (on Twitter).
Toronto signed Carroll to a surprisingly lucrative four-year, $58MM deal in the offseason, though he had plenty of other suitors after a breakout campaign with the Hawks last season. The Raptors are eligible to apply for a disabled player exception between now and January 15th that would be worth the equivalent of the $5.464MM mid-level exception, but they’d only get approval for it if the league determines he’s likely to miss the rest of the season. The team doesn’t have much roster flexibility anyway, since it has 15 players signed to 15 fully guaranteed contracts. Carroll’s injury is the only long-term ailment the team is dealing with, so a hardship exception for a 16th man isn’t in play.
Carroll missed the stretch run of Sunday’s game against the Bulls because of a minutes restriction for what the team had called a knee bruise, and he missed Monday’s game entirely because of the injury, as Wolstat detailed in a full piece. He’s dealt with minor ailments throughout the season, though he’s still managed to make an impact, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca wrote this week, and he’s clearly an integral part of the Raptors, who are tied with the Hawks at 21-15 for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Casey said he’ll give James Johnson, who’s playing in the final season of his contract, the first chance at the starting small forward job over Terrence Ross, who signed a three-year extension this past fall and whom Carroll displaced from the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, Wolstat tweets. Still, that’s subject to change, Casey said, with power forwards Anthony Bennett and Patrick Patterson candidates to shift to the three, according to Wolstat.