Injury to Raptors' Evans may not be so grim

(REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

(REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:04 PM ET

TORONTO - Things might not be as grim for the Raptors and Reggie Evans as it first seemed.

Following Friday night’s 110-101 loss to the Boston Celtics, Raptors head coach Jay Triano told reporters X-rays had revealed that Evans had broken his right foot.

Given that news, it was reasonable to assume that the team had lost the NBA’s third-leading rebounder for many months.

But that might not actually be the case.

Evans underwent more tests in Toronto on Saturday and the team said a conclusive diagnosis and recovery timeline would be revealed prior to Sunday’s matinee clash with the Atlanta Hawks at the ACC.

Evans missed most of last season with a severe sprain of his left foot suffered in a pre-season match against Boston. Former Raptor Jorge Garbajosa’s NBA career ended when he broke his leg against ... you guessed it, the Celtics.

Evans and teammate Amir Johnson don’t believe this latest Beantown-induced injury is in the same league as those two other catastrophic ones.

“I WILL FIND OUT EVERYTHING 2MORROW T DOT. BUT ITS NOTHING LIKE LAST YEAR,” Evans tweeted Saturday evening.

Earlier in the day, following a spirited practice, Johnson had said as much.

“It is (tough) I felt bad, but it’s not a major injury like last year, he’ll be back fighting (in) two, maybe three weeks,” Johnson said.

“He said he was fine, it wasn’t too bad, so he’ll be back around in no time.”

Johnson’s diagnosis seemed highly optimistic. Evans is believed to have suffered a fracture of one of his metatarsals (a bone in the foot) and the quickest turnaround from such an injury is several weeks.

A four-to-six-week layoff is probably the best the team can hope for, but the picture should become clearer on Sunday.

Assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo said the team feels for Evans, but will adapt to the loss of its vocal leader.

“I’ve always found players in the NBA are extremely resilient,” Carlesimo said.

“The guys certainly feel bad for him (but) the NBA being the NBA, the train moves on. Somebody else is going to get a chance to play. People aren’t going to forget about him, but that’s just the nature of it, that’s just the way this league is.”

Johnson will likely get the first crack at replacing Evans.

“We’ll have to see, but if there are (starter’s) minutes, I’ll be ready,” Johnson said.

“Guys stepped up when (last week’s trade) happened, we have to do the same as last time and just come together.”

Peja Stojakovic will also be rebranded as a power forward and rookie Ed Davis — off to a good start in the D-League (10 points, five rebounds, two blocks and zero fouls in his debut) — will join the team soon.

Linas Kleiza will also switch between the small and power forward spots.

The Lithuanian big man has been extremely inconsistent in his past six games.

Over the stretch, he has put up outings of 15, three, 17, two, four and 18 points.

Current starting small forward Sonny Weems has cooled after a hot start, shooting 3-for-17 in his past two games, including a 0-for-nine effort in Boston.

Meanwhile, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has made just 10 of his past 32 field-goal attempts.

With Evans not around to clean up all of those messes, things might be about to get ugly.

Just maybe not for as long as it first appeared.


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