The Toronto Raptors have been pretty lucky when it comes to injuries this season. So, when their best bench player got slammed by a Bam Adebayo screen in the last game of the regular season — a big moment in a relatively meaningless game versus Miami — there was a sense of dread over karma catching up.
Fred VanVleet has yet to return from that injury, save for three painful-looking minutes in Game 2, and today Sportsnet’s Michael Grange reports that the shoulder bruise is actually a separation.
Fred VanVleet - doubtful for Game 4 - sustained a sprain to his AC joint on his right shoulder April 11th. Laymen's term: separated shoulder. Likely Grade I or Grade II. There is no magical way to heal it. It is usually a minimum 2-week recovery and we are at Day 11.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) April 22, 2018
VanVleet briefly talked to the media just prior to this going up, touching on his limitations and what he felt for those minutes in Game 2.
Spoke to FVV. He said he could shoot through pain in Game 2, but everything else was a problem. Also there will be a risk of re-injury for 6 more weeks. Real problem is range of motion.— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) April 22, 2018
With this in mind, the Raptors prepare for what’s becoming an all-important Game 4 if they want to avoid a long series and get rest for their whole team before the second round. The team was out-muscled and out-hustled in Game 3, but they recognize that there’s a need to turn up the intensity — once again, Kyle Lowry is treating this “like a Game 7”.
On the Washington side, Markieff Morris was fined $25,000 by the NBA for escalating a situation and pushing an official in Game 3 — the flashpoint moment in the first quarter when OG Anunoby stared him down. They won’t make any changes to their starters, as they hope for more strong performances from John Wall and Bradley Beal, who combined for 56 points in Game 3.
Here’s the game details.
Where to Watch
Canada: Sportsnet One
United States: TNT
6 PM ET
Washington — John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Washington — Jodie Meeks (suspension)
Toronto - Fred VanVleet (OUT - shoulder)