Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry will wear a splint for the next six weeks after suffering an injury to his left ring finger, but the team announced Thursday the current plan is for him to practice and play through the injury.
Lowry update: Injured left ring finger tendon. It will be protected w/ a splint for approx. 6 wks. Able to practice & play in games.— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) October 24, 2013
Lowry injured a tendon in the finger during the third quarter of Wednesday's preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies. He recovered his own offensive rebound on a missed shot with 4:09 left in the quarter, eventually dishing the ball to center Jonas Valanciunas, who was fouled.
With Lowry in pain on the floor, Julyan Stone replaced him on the subsequent defensive possession and he did not return. He finished with two points and 10 assists, as Toronto pulled away for a 108-72 victory.
The Raptors noted that he had a follow-up exam on Thursday in Toronto and did not travel to Milwaukee for the team's preseason finale. While he's not expected to miss any time and the split should prevent any further aggravation, it will likely be up to Lowry's pain tolerance as to how many minutes he plays.
D.J. Augustin serves as the primary point guard and could see an increase in playing time. Augustin signed with Toronto this offseason after a one-year stint with the Indiana Pacers, where he averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 assists per game for the Eastern Conference finalist.
The major concern here for Toronto will be seeing how much the splint affects Lowry's dribbling and shooting rhythm. He is right-handed, so much of the torque shooting-wise will be mitigated. But if he's in pain during game situations, it could cause him to favor his right hand too much and become predictable as a shot-creator.
The Raptors point guard saw his efficiency dip last season as he tried to play through a triceps injury. He averaged 11.6 points and 6.4 assists per game while shooting 40.1 percent from the floor, each of which were his lowest figures in three seasons.
Regardless, Toronto was still more than five points per 100 possessions better with Lowry on the floor than off, per NBA.com. With the team facing a crossroads between rebuilding and pushing for a playoff spot this season, Lowry's injury may help shift the scales if his effectiveness is lessened. The 27-year-old guard will make $6.2 million this season in the final year of his contract.
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