VanVleet suffered a left hip flexor strain in Game 4 on Saturday and was forced out of action in the first half. The All-Star guard said today that he’s taking the injury day by day and isn’t sure whether he’d be available to play in Game 6 on Thursday if the Raptors – currently down 3-1 – can extend the series tonight (Twitter link via Bontemps).
“I’m always going to leave that window open, but it’ll probably take some time,” VanVleet said (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca). “… I would feel great about maybe playing in the next round. Nobody believes we can do it, but I think we can. I’m going to stay positive and get as much rehab as I can.”
While it’s very possible VanVleet has played his last game of the season, he said he was relieved that an MRI on the injury didn’t show any serious damage, per Bontemps. The 28-year-old told reporters today that surgery this offseason shouldn’t be necessary, per Eric Koreen of The Athletic (Twitter link). He added that he has dealt with the issue on and off throughout the season (Twitter link via Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca).
With VanVleet sidelined, it’s possible Malachi Flynn will see an expanded role in Philadelphia on Monday night. However, Flynn barely played on Saturday, even after VanVleet’s exit, as Toronto instead opted to lean on long, versatile lineups that featured forwards like Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes as the primary ball-handlers.
For what it’s worth, those longer VanVleet-less lineups have given Philadelphia a little trouble over the course of the series. Through four games, Toronto has a 104.2 defensive rating and a +8.4 net rating in 57 minutes without its starting point guard on the court.