Terrence Ross Injury: Updates on Raptors Forward's Ankle and Return

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 27, 2014

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 5: Terrence Ross #31 of the Toronto Raptors in a game against the Sacramento Kings on February 5, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Updates from Sunday, Mar. 2

Raptors Media Relations updated Terrence Ross' status for Sunday's game against Golden State:

Original Text

Toronto Raptors forward Terrence Ross suffered a sprained left ankle in the team's game against the Washington Wizards on Thursday.

The Raptors' official Media Relations Twitter account reported that Ross would not return to the floor:

Ross had scored 11 points in just 16 minutes before leaving the home game at the Air Canada Centre for good.

Ankle injuries have been a common theme for the upstart squad. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun noted how Tyler Hansbrough, DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson have all dealt with those types of health issues:

Head coach Dwane Casey discussed Ross' value to the team on Wednesday but noted he still has plenty of room to improve.

"He probably has the best defensive hands of all of our guys," said Casey, per TheStar.com's Doug Smith. "He’s not there yet...but he’s growing."

Ross has outstanding athleticism and length that translates to highlight-reel dunks and exceptional perimeter defense, and the 23-year-old continues to develop his outside jump shot, shooting better than 40 percent from three-point range this year. Now he is confirming everything the franchise saw in selecting him No. 8 overall in the 2012 NBA draft.

That makes this injury all the more unfortunate. With the turnaround Toronto has experienced in 2013-14 as a legitimate Eastern Conference playoff contender, it would be a shame to lose such a key piece—and an explosive player at that—in Ross, whose individual development will go a long way in determining the Raptors' ultimate fate this season.

Ankle sprains are difficult to gauge in terms of how long they will keep a player out. Toronto must be careful to strike the balance of not rushing Ross back while still maintaining prominent position in the postseason race.