No one wanted Hassan Whiteside or Jonas Valanciunas to go down the way they did, and most would agree that it was the most intriguing matchup of the series. Today, the Raptors made the unfortunate announcement that after further testing, Valanciunas would miss the remainder of the series against the Miami Heat.
The Raptors announced Sunday centre Jonas Valanciunas will miss the remainder of the series vs. Miami with a sprained right ankle. #RTZ— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) May 8, 2016
Whiteside has been listed as day-to-day with a sprained MCL, the same injury that's kept Stephen Curry out for a couple of weeks. With his pending free agency and chronic issues with his leg, I'd be surprised to see Whiteside back despite his status.
Happy for Whiteside that it is not a long-term injury but awfully hard to imagine him coming back in time to affect this year's playoff run.— Danny Leroux (@DannyLeroux) May 8, 2016
Whiteside listed as day to day. He may have the most financial risk of any player ever from playing hurt if he does come back.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) May 8, 2016
For the Raptors, this probably means we see a steady diet of small-ball with Patterson playing C, and perhaps dusting off Jason Thompson or Lucas Nogeuira for some spot minutes. After the failed Luis Scola experiment last night, you probably shouldn't expect to see him play a part this series.
For the Heat, Whiteside is their only true rim protector, and behind him they have a mishmash of washed up old dudes (Amar'e Stoudemire, Udonis Haslem) or unknown factors (Josh McRoberts). Both teams will play small a fair bit -- the Heat enjoy playing small, but can they do it for an extended stretch? And how does it impact the Raptors' ability to attack the basket?
Lots of intrigue, lots of disappointment, but lots to discuss.