While the injury update provided by the Raptors on Wednesday included minor updates on Landry Fields (Landry will have a followup with his surgeon on Thursday) and Alan Anderson (expected to return Friday), the real story was the bad news surrounding the statuses of Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani.

Lowry will be out around 10 days with a partial tricep tear, while Bargnani is out indefinitely with a ligament tear in his right elbow.

The Raptors already buried themselves with respect to competing for a playoff spot or anything significant this season, so the injuries aren’t crippling to what they could have accomplished this year, no matter what any optimist tells you. From a competitive standpoint though, the blows likely leave Toronto – already near the bottom of the league standings at 4-19 – with one of the NBA’s worst lineups, as over the next couple of weeks, the Raps rotation probably looks like this:

PG: Calderon, Lucas

SG: DeRozan, Ross

SF: Pietrus, Anderson, Kleiza, Acy

PF: Davis, Johnson, Acy

C: Valanciunas, Johnson, Gray

Forget about how bad some other teams are and accept the fact that on most nights, the Raptors will field the vastly inferior lineup, thought 15 games under .500, you can easily make the argument that they were already doing that.

Of course, with the bad news of injuries comes the opportunity for other players to step up, and there are a number of Raptors who should be looking to seize that opportunity.

First and foremost, while I’m not happy that Bargnani is hurt since it now means that a trade involving him is unlikely to impossible, I am looking forward to watching a young frontcourt of Ed Davis and Jonas Valanciunas log extended minutes together, and you should be too. This season is already in the dumps, and while that’s an extremely disappointing reality just 23 games in, it also leaves us with no other option than to watch how Toronto’s young core develops as opposed to watching the standings.

Davis and Valanciunas looked great together in the first half against the Nets, and while Jonas slowed down in the second half and the Raptors ultimately lost for the 12th time in 13 games, the pair left us all wanting more. Davis, especially, can use this time as a starter to prove that he belongs in the Raptors’ long-term plans. A 24 and 12 performance was a nice way to start.

Jose Calderon, who reportedly wants out of town, will get the chance to start again, and as I mentioned in the pre-game thread on Wednesday, Calderon’s best stretches in the NBA have come when he’s filling in for the injured starter ahead of him on the depth charts. Jose says all of the right things to the media and in public about filling any role necessary and just doing what the team asks of him, but anyone who’s followed this team for the last few years should be able to tell that his effort level varies greatly from the starting lineup to the bench. Maybe Jose’s on the cusp of another big stretch.

DeMar DeRozan can use this time to prove that he really is a more complete player than in years past. DeRozan’s struggled in the past when guys like Bargnani are out of the lineup and defences zone in on DeMar as the team’s primary option, and we’re about to find out if he can finally handle it with both Bargnani and Lowry out. If the Raptors want a chance to steal some games over the next little while, they’ll likely need DeRozan to resemble something along the lines of a No. 1 option.

***

On a sidenote, Lowry’s inability to stay healthy is seriously concerning right now. He plays with a hustle and relentlessness that is both appreciated and admired by fans, and when he’s healthy and playing his game, he’s shown flashes of being an elite NBA point guard worthy of being one of the focal points of this rebuild. But as I mentioned on our last podcast, the organization should be concerned about whether he can ever stay healthy for long enough periods of time.

After missing just five of 164 games between the 2007-08 season and the 2008-09 season, Lowry missed 14 games in 2009-10, a more encouraging seven games in 2010-11, 19 out of 66 games last season and has already missed seven of 23 games this season, with more coming in the next couple of weeks.

***

Wednesday’s game against the Nets marked the beginning of a 30-game stretch that sees the Raptors play 20 games at home over a two month span. If the team continues to sink deeper and deeper into oblivion, I’ll be interested in seeing how the fans react in terms of attendance. The crowds have been excellent through the first eight home games of the season, including 18,847 showing up to support the 4-18 team against Brooklyn, but I wouldn’t blame people for staying away if this team is 20 games under .500 or worse in the near future. If people do continue to show up, the boo birds will probably be out in full effect on a lot of nights.

As one of the most loyal and rabid fanbases in the NBA, we really do deserve so much better this.

Comments (42)

  1. bargnani isnt injured, anyone who watches sports and specially nba knows how this works, It’s almost like they tell him to get hurt in the game that way they can sit him till hes in another uniform. GM BC needs to be fired, its nice seeing how many moves he’s made over the years…. BUT NOT ONE HAS WORKED!!!!

  2. Is their a precedent in the nba for trading injured players? I think its happened before but not often. If another team wanted to give back a significant piece for bargs (doubtful) then they would want bargs available to play since they would be losing an important player. This really messes up BC’s plans not taht they werent non existent to begin with. I also think they potentially could be willing to sell high on somebody like ed davis which I would not be against. He could potentially have some nice trade value if he continues to play well and maybe could net us a good young piece.

    • Teams generally don’t trade for injured players for the same reason you usually don’t sign injured players. You don’t want to pay for damaged goods in case the injury is worse than you thought (see Andrew Bynum, Andrew Bogut) or the player doesn’t get back to their original form.

  3. Ugh, just what we needed, more excuses to keep this poisonous mix of players together for another season.

  4. This Raptors team is a mess but I agree with Joseph. Watch Ed Davis and Jonas in the front court and watch them do well. Ed Davis was a 13th overall pick in the same draft where Landry Fields was picked 39th, and if Davis got the time he needs we’d all be able to see why he went so much higher. The injuries suck, but this is a great time for Davis to show he belongs. Ed Davis can’t net us a good young piece for the future…HE IS THE GOOD YOUNG PIECE for the future. He knows how to win (NCAA Champions in 2009…with UNC as well) and someone like Bargnani doesn’t. I’d be content if Barney was out quite some time with this injury and they can’t trade him for anything. He’s more useful on the bench than in the starting lineup. If they let him go for a late round 1st round pick I’d be happy with that because thats what he’s worth.

    Wow…that escaladed quickly, but my rant lives on. With respect to Lowry, the guy gets hurt too often and too easily. I liked the pickup when they got him and still do now but while he’s injured we can just sit and wait. I don’t think all of BC’s decisions have been great, but I don’t think its time to fire him just yet. We have to really see the bad decisions of DeRozan’s massive extention and Landry Fields questionable signings fail massively before we can kick him to the side. He is a good executive, I think he is just on a string of bad luck right now.

  5. I thought the blog idea – the ‘good’ blog idea, anyway – was to give it straight and not sensationalize the way the crappiest of regular media outlets do. It’s one of the ways the good blogs or at least the better ones that I’ve know of and visit, have cut their teeth and made their mark.

    But apparently, you’re not one of those. You state here that ‘Jose Calderon (who) reportedly wants out of town’ with a link that takes the reader to one of your own articles that then links you to The USA Today article (are you really getting cheesier than what even the Bleacher Report used to be?) … and you’re repeating this ‘news’ again, KNOWING that the report USA Today refers to is so goddam old there’ve been a dozen other rumours about Jose since that one was first out there (and he denied it back then, when it did first come out … like, months ago) … and yet you continue to throw it out there like it matters and might be actually be relevant to here and now.

    Sorry, but you guys officially stink. You really do. Scott built this spot and it turns out he wasn’t even a real hoops fan (‘waaah, my team hasn’t won so I’m not gonna watch them anymore, waaah’) and whatever following he did leave won’t be around long if you keep this crap up.

    Might want to check to see how your baseball compatriots do things. You’ll learn a thing or two.

    Good luck in your quest to figure this stuff out. ‘Cause you’re not there, yet.

    • Your life will probably be more enjoyable if you spend less time going to sites you don’t enjoy and telling them what you think they do wrong.

      • Oh, that’s what I’ve been doing wrong. Thank you.

        I was a bit pissy earlier this morning. So … grain of salt. I like this site fine.

    • “The report USA Today refers to is so goddam old” Really? The USA Today report is from TWO days ago, and doesn’t mention where they got their Calderon information.

  6. Remember when Vince went down and the team was doomed? Prepare for the sequel.

    The offence should get better without a PPG obsessed chucker running the show, and the defence & rebounding WILL get better without Vegetable Lasagna taking minutes from the 3 bigs who actually play like bigs.

  7. What the heck? Why do i NOT see someone fired yet? I wake up early in the morning, thinking, Yup, MLSE will be fire BC today, but NO… what the heck? They fired sam mitchell for going 9-8 surely they will fire BC for creating the team that goes 4-19.

  8. I had to laugh when I read this blog – I usually read most of ‘em anyway – however, I have pushed for Ed Davis on here, time and time again. It was less than 10 days ago where Davis and Val played (started) together and JC ripped them on here, saying they are over matched. You stated that it’s obvious these two can’t play together. I responded and “ripped you one”, for such a deep, concrete evaluation after just one game. All it took was one good game from Ed and Val, and now you agree with my assessments of a month ago…..just glad to see you have caught up…but, these “one good game/ one bad game” evaluations have to stop if want us to take you seriously

    • Youngjames, you might want to start actually reading these blogs instead of writing your own interpretations of them. Through post-game blogs, podcasts, etc, I continuously pushed for a Davis/Valanciunas frontcourt and had even made the comment at one point that Bargnani suffering something MINOR, like the flu, wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if it forced Davis into the starting lineup for a few games.

      As for your comments that I “ripped” the Davis/Valanciunas combo after one game, again, you just weren’t paying attention. I noted in the postgame thoughts after that game (in Memphis), that while they didn’t have a good game, no one should have expected them to against an experienced frontcourt like Z-Bo and Gasol. That’s not “ripping” them. And you’re claim that I “stated that it’s obvious these two can’t play together” is actually ridiculous. I’ve never written or said that once, so now you’re actually resorting to just making things up. You close by saying these evaluations have to stop if I want you to take me seriously?

      I say your foolish comments have to stop if you want me to take you seriously.

      • Nice! great response…..no need to get all “Doug Smith – thinned skinned” on me. Your response sound like your feelings are hurt, why do feel so insulted!?…just own it, no big deal!. I looked on the website for archived article (quickly) could not find anything – therefore I can’t post the quote(s) you made. As to what specifically you said, I cannot remember, but you threw enough hate the two pairing together against Memphis.
        My comment(s) to that post, pointed out some of the positive you failed to see and or talk of from Ed and Val that game. So again, whats the big deal? So what if I have better insight and evaluation skills on NBA talent then yo and can see these things quicker – I’m trained in that field professionally…no need to feel upset. I’m a supporter of this blog, I think for the most part you got some good shit to say. But you gots to own what you say – its part of the responsibility of running a blog. Tell me something, why would I make this up? for what dumb reason does it benefit me to make false accusations on a blog which I am talking too with strangers? …come,on boss!…seriously!

        • “Here are some thoughts on the game:

          Grizzlies 103, Raptors 82

          - The most obvious storyline from this game is that the Raptors were without Primo whipping boy Andrea Bargnani, who missed out with a sore ankle. Ed Davis got the start in Bargnani’s place, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting to go along with six rebounds, a block, four turnovers and four fouls in about 28 minutes of action. I’ve been waiting to see what a frontcourt of Davis and Jonas Valanciunas would look like playing extended minutes together, and they didn’t look good tonight, but I can’t say I really expected much from them against one of the best big man combos in the league.”

          This is the exact commentary about Davis/JV from that blog. Where exactly is all this hate you were ranting about? Comprehension is obviously not one of your strong points.

    • This is such a ridiculous comment. I remember that game and blog. Joseph simply said they were over-matched against Gasol and Randolph (the best front court in the league right now). JC has been a Davis supporter for a while, and a JV supporter probably since the guy was born lol. All jokes aside, practice some reading comprehension before ripping into a blog. The guys are usually pretty good with their analysis of this team.

      • We appreciate it, Duke

      • Duke..

        Pull your nose out JC’s ass for two seconds, so you can find something interesting to say. I guess if I ran a blog, I’d have my friends – or my “yes man” – chime in for support too!

        • You mad? Lol

          And what’s this about being a ‘professional’ for evaluating NBA talent? The only thing you sound like a professional at is living in your own fantasy world…which is probably, in fact, your mama’s basement.

    • I’ll add a third to say that Joseph’s actual commentary bears no resemblance to your portrayal of his commentary. If you’re going to slag someone base on what they “said”, then link to it and quote it. Otherwise you’re just trolling.

      • I guess when someone makes a ridiculous comment from now on, I don’t even need to respond anymore. I can just let the people that actually pay attention to our posts settle it for me. Thanks to Jays of Thunder and Duke.

        • Yeah I’m making it up – I have lots to gain from that! Go back to bed Thunder, too your moms basement and smoke pot all day, you sound like the type. Your ass kissing is commendable (if your JC), but for “real” sports fans, your a clown. Where is your ass-kissing getting you anyways? A thank you from a stranger!

          • 1) You’re commenting on a blog. Presumably there’s not much to be gained, unless anonymous internet credibility is important to you.

            2) You are = you’re, not your. “to your mom’s basement”, not “too your moms basement”. Good grammar is important, especially if you’re making an argument and you want to bring others on side.

            3) I’m a sports fan, that’s enough. Sports fans are as diverse as the whole population, with diverse motivations, affiliations and thoughts about how teams should be run. Talking about a mythical “real” fan is silly. It makes me think of a Tea Partier dressed up as Lincoln and complaining that Obama’s not a “real American”.

            4) You’ve simply got to do better than the tired mom’s basement trope. It’s not insulting, it’s not funny, and though this is completely incidental, it’s not true.

            5) What do I get out of this? As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m a long time reader, with some affection for this blog. I think folks can disagree about sports and still be honest and respectful, both things you were not. Bragging about having “ripped you one” and misreprenting someone’s words without evidence brings down the quality of the comment section, which sucks for all readers

            6) You’ve actually contributed many good comments in the past, I doubt you were trolling, but your tone and style were inflammatory. You get what you give.

          • @ Jays of Thunder

            You sound like a whiny little school girl bitch. Who gives a flying f^ck about grammar on here! Just because you have no friends, job and or family to occupy your time – I do, I’m too busy with my new born, my wife, my job and my friends for small “tick-tacky” BS, like spelling on this here Raptors blog – I’m not looking to hand in a graded paper….AND, you obviously got my point when you read it!

    • I think if ANYTHING, this “criticism” of Davis you thought you heard was that he wasn’t consistent enough and that he often plays with very little emotion (compared him to Colby Rasmus I believe?)

      Both are fair points. But from what I’ve seen there was never any criticism about Ed not being able to start or play with JV.

      The only thing I remember JC saying about someone not being able to play with JV was Andre Drummond, not Davis.

  9. This team sucks and will suck for a long time. It doesn’t matter who you put in the line up since all the players on this roster are mediocre at best.

  10. What’s the red wrist band Bargnani’s wearing stand for? Defense Indifference Awareness? Support for Apathy? Being ‘Pro’ for Overpaid Athletes?

    The timing of the injury isn’t too bad. It kind of wipes the slate clean on Bargnani’s season, so when he returns the large stench that currently surrounds him will be mostly gone. If he returns and plays circa last season, then his trade value will only be higher than it currently is. Still, this is largely based on the idea that they want to trade the lumbering oaf. God, I hope they want to trade him.

    Looking forward to see what Ed Davis can bring with consistent minutes.

    • “What’s the red wrist band Bargnani’s wearing stand for? Defense Indifference Awareness? Support for Apathy? Being ‘Pro’ for Overpaid Athletes?”

      Very funny, but how in hell is he wearing them in a game? Isn’t it against the rules?

      • It looks like one of those sham “energy/balance bracelets” or whatever they’re called. A lot of players were wearing them at one point, but I hoped most of them had some sense knocked into them. Anyway, if Bargs is wearing an energy bracelet, I’m cool with that because the jokes write themselves.

  11. So, the next winnable game is… Wednesday at home against Detroit? Maybe? If this year is turning into tanking, they may have a chance to gain some serious ground on the competition in the next few weeks.

  12. Lowry and Primo’s sustaining injuries ,unfortunately, saved Colangelos ass . Prepare yourselves for no player movement ,no firings, no wins. This is the absolute worst case scenario, however the reality.

  13. Bargnani suffered an injury that will take until the trade deadline to heal? How mysterious.

    • Along with Cathal Kelly in the Star last week, this piece makes it that the 1st and 2nd largest papers in the country have called out Bargs and Colangelo. The honeymoon’s well past over.

      Another rough few weeks and we could see Colangelo resign to save face – I think MLSE would offer him that opportunity – rather than sticking around to not have his contract renewed. I wouldn’t bet on it, but if the writing’s on the wall, I don’t think BC is the type to hang around to play out the string.

  14. Honestly, fuck all this pc shit about not wishing injury on a player… I don’t wish it either but anything to take Bargnani out of the line-up is good in my books. It’s not like he broke his neck or something… as long as it’s not career ending, I saw sweeeeeeeet.

    No but seriously, FUCK Bargnani.
    I hate him.

  15. Andrea injury sounds like good news to me.

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