FEBRUARY 13, 2:32pm: VanVleet will undergo surgery to repair the ligament damage in his left thumb, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the Raptors’ point guard is expected to miss about five weeks.
FEBRUARY 11, 3:19pm: Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet is expected to be sidelined at least into March, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Raptors, VanVleet suffered a partial ligament injury in his left thumb and will wear a splint for approximately three weeks before being re-evaluated.
It’s unfortunate timing for the Raptors, who waived fourth-string point guard Lorenzo Brown about a month ago and traded away third-string point guard Delon Wright last week. Toronto now appears awfully short-handed at a position that was once its deepest, with players like Patrick McCaw, Norman Powell, and two-way guard Jordan Loyd perhaps in line for increased ball-handling duties behind starter Kyle Lowry.
Help should be on the way, however, as a report earlier today indicated that Jeremy Lin is expected to finalize a buyout with the Hawks and sign with the Raptors. Still, Lin’s release isn’t yet official, and he’ll have to spend 48 hours on waivers, so it’s not clear if he’ll be able to join the Raps before the All-Star break.
[UPDATE: Lin was bought out on Monday and is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday.]
The All-Star break, at least, should help limit the number of games VanVleet is projected to miss. If he’s able to return in three weeks, he’d only be out for the next seven Raptors games. There’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to go at that point though.
A finalist for last season’s Sixth Man of the Year award, VanVleet has seen his shooting percentages dip this season, but remains a key part of Toronto’s rotation, with 10.5 PPG and 4.6 APG on .403/.366/.833 shooting in 51 games (22 starts).