Jonas Valanciunas‘ left thumb injury continues to heal and his condition keeps improving, but the Raptors center is still several weeks away from returning to the court, the team announced today in a press release.
According to the Raptors, Valanciunas is now wearing a splint on his left thumb for basketball activities only. He’ll use the splint on that thumb – which he dislocated on December 12 – for about four more weeks and will be regularly evaluated as he rehabs the injury over that period.
Although Valanciunas will likely be sidelined until about the All-Star break, he’s not behind schedule in his recovery. In fact, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca observes (via Twitter), the veteran big man was supposed to be in a cast for four weeks, but he had that cast replaced with a smaller brace two weeks ago, so he appears to actually be ahead of schedule.
With Valanciunas out of the lineup, Serge Ibaka has seen a slightly increased role, while Greg Monroe has received regular minutes. Pascal Siakam has also spent some time at center, with two-way player Chris Boucher occasionally making his way into the rotation too.
The Raptors currently have two open roster spots after cutting Lorenzo Brown on Monday, and will have to fill at least one of those openings within the next couple weeks. Signing a big man to a 10-day contract or two is an option if the club is concerned at all about its frontcourt depth. Toronto could also promote Boucher to the 15-man squad and use his two-way slot on someone else, though that’s just my speculation.