With Lucas Nogueira, the man they call Bebe, there’s always another shoe to drop — one that often involves injury. So far in his NBA career (and tenure with the Raptors), any sustained stretch of decent, good, or even regular play, from the Brazilian big man has been met with a resulting injury. It’s a brutal trend.
In the Raptors’ game against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, Nogueira once again was struck down, this time in the right calf. Unfortunately, as per the official press release, the news isn’t great:
The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that test results confirmed centre Lucas Nogueira sustained a muscle tear in his right calf. He was treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP) to enhance the healing process. The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s game Nov. 29 vs. Charlotte. Nogueria will be treated symptomatically and his status will be updated as needed. He will not play in Friday’s game vs. Indiana.
For the Raptors, the loss of Nogueira is survivable. He’s technically the team’s third centre, playing behind Jonas Valanciunas and (for the most part) Jakob Poeltl. So far, after appearing in 17 of the Raps’ 20 games, Lucas is averaging 12 minutes, 3.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks, while shooting 60 percent from the field (and, hey, 30 percent from three!). On the court he’s done the things he’s supposed to do: finish lobs, move the ball (Bebe is always willing to move the ball), and block shots. Head coach Dwane Casey noted that the Raptors would be losing some rim protection in Bebe’s absence, calling him something of a security blanket on the backline.
Still, Bebe’s presence and role in the lineup has been in constant flux — this year, and every year previous. That’s largely been due to his wavering attention and effort, but also his injury history. (Remember last season when he got to be the lead backup centre at the start of the year and immediately sprained his ankle?) Hopefully upon his return, Nogueira will be able to push his way back into the Raptors lineup. But really, who knows?