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Report: Toronto Raptors waive Ron Harper Jr., open two-way roster spot

Ron Harper Jr.’s road to the NBA takes a temporary pit stop as he recovers from a season-ending injury.

ESPN’s Marc Spears reported late in the afternoon today that the Raptors have waived Two-Way contract player Ron Harper Jr., who will undergo season-ending surgery on his left shoulder. He appeared in one game with the Raptors against the Detroit Pistons and spent most of his time with the Raptors 905 but was in and out of lineups due to an assortment of injuries to start the season.

Harper Jr. played in six games for the Raptors 905 this season, averaging 13.8 points, four boards, and three assists. His numbers were significantly down from last year’s regular season, where he put up 17.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 36.4% from the perimeter in 29 games while mostly playing point-forward.

Harper Jr. last played for the Raptors 905 while on the road against the Long Island Nets on December 7th, where he sustained a subluxation of his left shoulder. He got tangled with Dylan Windler, who was cutting to the paint, and his left arm got caught in the process. Harper Jr. sustained the injury around 8:30 in the second period, and while he tried to shake it off, he was taken out a couple of plays later.

I’m just not sure if it’s a wise decision to play through it, as Harper Jr. returned after four minutes of the game clock. He went scoreless since returning, as he clearly has not looked the same since the injury, with some of his shots noticeably short or, worse, air-balled. Harper Jr. did manage to create a wide-open perimeter shot for Gradey Dick early in the second half, which happened to be the only trifecta that Dick made in the second half. Going back to Harper Jr., he probably played 14 unnecessary minutes after sustaining the injury before they called it a night early in the fourth period.

It’s quite common for NBA teams to waive a prospect on a Two-Way contract that suffered a season-ending injury. It allows the team to free up a two-way roster spot and get a look at someone else, and given the sorry state of the Raptors 905, they desperately need healthy bodies right now.

The Raptors acted quick, signing Jontay Porter from the Detroit Pistons/Motor City Cruise on a two-way contract. Porter spent a season with the Memphis Grizzlies — Darko Rajakovic’s former team.

For Harper Jr., this is a disappointing end to his season, and he will instead use the rest of the time rehabbing from this injury. It remains to be seen whether Harper Jr. will remain with the Raptors while he recuperates from injury, but this is something that a lot of teams have done to someone that they have waived (see Chicago Bulls and Justin Lewis).

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