A thumb injury kept Terrence Ross out for a stretch of games earlier in the season, and the Toronto Raptors wing may miss more time after exiting Friday night's game against the Washington Wizards with a back injury.
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Ross Out for Remainder of Game vs. Wizards
Friday, Jan. 8
Ross left Friday's game against Washington with a sore lower back, and the team announced he wouldn't return. Prior to leaving, Ross had played 17:46 with seven points and two rebounds.
After the game, Ross told reporters he had a back spasm, but it wasn't a result of a contact injury.
Although not an integral member of the Raptors squad, Ross will undoubtedly be a big part of the team's future. Toronto made that clear when it signed him to a three-year contract extension worth almost $33 million.
Through his first three years in the league, Ross rarely looked like an $11 million-a-year player.
He averaged 13.9 points per 36 minutes last year on 41 percent shooting. He also shot 37.2 percent from three-point range. Player efficiency rating isn't the be-all and end-all when it comes to evaluating a player's contributions, but it's also somewhat telling; Ross' PER never climbed higher than 12.0 in those first three seasons.
With that said, you can understand why the Raptors offered him such a lucrative extension. The salary cap is set to explode after this year, per ESPN.com's Marc Stein, so $11 million won't be a significant price to pay for a rotation player. Plus, DeMar DeRozan can opt out after this year, so having Ross is a bit of a contingency in the event Toronto loses DeRozan to free agency.
Losing Ross hurts the Raptors a bit on the court for right now, but they have an abundance of wing players, especially after signing DeMarre Carroll in the offseason. They also acquired Norman Powell in the Greivis Vasquez trade, thus providing more depth on the wing.
Powell should be the biggest benefactor of Ross' injury since it moves him up a place in the team's depth chart. The rookie guard looked solid in summer league and might now have a genuine opportunity to make an impression on Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.
Note: Stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.