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Injury update: Jonas Valanciunas on the shelf four more weeks

Raps’ centre has his cast off, but needs more time to improve range of motion and strength in the thumb

Injury update: Toronto Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas out four more weeks Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors announced on Thursday that centre Jonas Valanciunas, who suffered a dislocated left thumb courtesy of Golden State’s Draymond Green on December 12, 2018, will be out of the lineup at least four more weeks.

Valanciunas’ rehab is on schedule; following surgery, the Raptors had said he would be evaluated in four weeks, and we’re pretty much exactly four weeks from that date.

According to the Raptors, JV has a splint on the thumb — an upgrade from the cast he was wearing — and is now doing rehabilitation for “range of motion” and to “improve power and strength in the joint.”

The next expected update will come in another four weeks, which will put it right around the All-Star break.

JV can regularly be seen warming up pre-game with assistant coach Phil Handy, working on jump shots and footwork, so he’s keeping in shape despite the injury.

Valanciunas has had a rock-solid year, embracing his role as a sometimes-starter and averaging career-bests in points and field goal percentage, despite playing the fewest minutes per game of his career. The Raptors definitely need the big man for an extended playoff run, as he and Serge Ibaka form a well-matched centre platoon that helps the Raptors match up with just about any opposing frontcourt.