Every NBA team has the same goal for the preseason: to stay healthy. However, there are potential pitfalls around every corner.
A misstep in practice, an accident in the weight room or, yes, even a school performance gone awry can derail a season before it ever gets started.
That's a lesson that the Toronto Raptors mascot had to learn the hard way. According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, the Raptor suffered a torn Achilles during a school visit in Halifax. Per Wolstat, the mascot has been around as long as the franchise and has never before missed a game.
But this isn't the first misstep of his career.
Raptors fans have been struggling to process the news ever since. "My daughter cried," Raptors coach Dwane Casey told Eric Koreen of The National Post. "She was upset...He'll bounce back. He's in good hands with the physicians. The Raptor will be back."
The Twitter world stopped on Thursday to pay their respects to the hobbled mascot:
To folks sending me the news about the Raptor mascot's season-ending injury: I'm aware, and have been mourning since yesterday evening.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 10, 2013
Bummed The Raptor blew an Achilles. A great mascot, and a great dude. I hope Kobe calls with black-market recovery suggestions.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) October 10, 2013
And then, of course, there was Twitter being Twitter:
Need rehab montage of Kobe and Raptors Mascot together. Make it happen, world.— Kirk Henderson (@KirkSeriousFace) October 10, 2013
Raptors and snakes are both reptiles, right? I never was very good at science.
Koreen later learned what led to the injury and a valuable parenting lesson in the process:
A source told me The Raptor blew out his Achilles while doing a backflip. Mascots, don't let your mascot children do backflips.— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) October 10, 2013
As for Toronto's future—because a mascot-less season was right up there with botched eye surgery for Rudy Gay in the team's list of worst-case scenarios—there isn't a backup in place just yet. Maybe general manager Masai Ujiri's $15-million deal stripped the mascot understudy position from the team's payroll.
Luckily, Twitter is already working on finding a replacement:
Hope you like Drake, Raptors season ticket holders.— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) October 9, 2013
I wonder if Drake can devour a dance team member in a single bite. On second thought, that's something I don't want to know. Sincere apologies for painting that mental picture.
This was supposed to be a season of change for the playoff-hopeful Raptors, but I doubt this was the difference that they were eager to see.
Please, hurry back, Mr. Raptor.