Given the way this season has gone for Andrea Bargnani and the Raptors, this shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise, but the team announced on Wednesday morning that they expect Bargnani to miss the rest of the season with a “right elbow avulsion sprain.”
While the injury isn’t related to the ligament tear Bargnani suffered in his right elbow earlier this season, the fact that a shooter who was already struggling with his shot has now suffered two significant enough injuries to the elbow on his shooting arm within the last three months is certainly concerning.
The obvious thought running through most Raptors fans’ minds upon hearing that Bargnani is likely done for the season is something along the lines of “when did he even check into the season?” And that’s a fair question.
In truth, Andrea never did, as after a promising first quarter (11 points) in the season opener against the Pacers, it was pretty much all downhill from there. While this latest injury may slightly effect Bargnani’s trade value, it shouldn’t really make that much of a difference for a guy whose value was probably already at an all-time low, the same way that a couple of encouraging games last week probably didn’t do much to raise his rock-bottom value.
By the time this season is in the books, Bargnani will have missed 98 games over the last three seasons with an assortment of injuries and is on track to miss more games than he played for the second straight season. Couple that lack of durability with some awful numbers – Bargs has averaged 15.8 points on 41.7 per cent shooting and 30.4 per cent three-point shooting to go with 4.5 rebounds in nearly 31 minutes per game over the last two years – and you can begin to see why heading into the trade deadline, I was adamant that even getting a player like Spencer Hawes would be good value for Bargnani (My preference to eventually turn Bargnani into Pau Gasol’s expiring contract for 2013-14 appears to be an absolute pipe dream now).
The obvious question fans and media alike will ask over the next few months is whether Bryan Colangelo and MLSE are considering the amnesty clause on Bargnani, but I maintain that I can’t see Colangelo parting with his own No. 1 overall pick for nothing and certainly can’t see ownership signing off on an amnesty the size of Bargnani’s contract. It would be fascinating to see what kind of offers an amnestied Andrea got on the open market though, wouldn’t it?
Enough words have been spent on the enigma of all enigmas this season and in seasons past, but in closing I’ll simply say this. When it became obvious that Chris Bosh’s Raptors tenure had come to an end with him suffering an injury (broken face) on the road, it was sad and unfortunate in the sense that fans never had the chance at real closure with one of the two best players in franchise history. If this is how it ends for Andrea Bargnani in Toronto – and it certainly appears as though this will be the end – it’s sad and unfortunate in the sense that it almost seems fitting.