Kyle Lowry's Ankle Injury Diagnosed as Sprain by Raptors; Status vs. Celtics TBD

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2020

FILE - In this March 9, 2020, file photo, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) directs his team during the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The defending NBA champions enter the NBA restart sitting second in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain after undergoing an MRI, the team announced Monday.  

Lowry was limited to nine minutes in Toronto's series-clinching victory over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. Head coach Nick Nurse told reporters the six-time All-Star was initially concerned about an injury to the arch of his left foot.

As Josh Lewenberg of TSN noted, he was not ruled out for the upcoming series against the Boston Celtics and the team will likely determine his availability based on how he responds to treatment.

Toronto made quick work of the short-handed Nets, but the road back to the NBA Finals will only get more difficult. That makes Lowry's health and availability critical for the reigning champions.

The 34-year-old was his usual self in the regular season, averaging 19.4 points and 7.5 assists while shooting 41.6 percent from the floor and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc. His performance was one of many reasons Toronto secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference despite losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in the offseason.

Fred VanVleet would be a capable replacement for Lowry, and the Raptors' strength largely comes from their depth rather than a reliance on any one player. Still, this is the time when a singular talent such as Leonard is at his most valuable.

Lowry isn't that kind of presence for Toronto, but his absence would make it tougher for Toronto's more egalitarian attack to thrive.