Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)
Yesterday (Monday), Kyle Lowry was a partial "participant" in the Raptors' practice session at the BioSteel Centre. The details regarding how much work he put in, whether or not he is progressing, if he suffered any setbacks, or if he's closer to a return is still a giant unknown to us, as both Lowry and coach Dwane Casey were beyond reluctant to give concrete information. Courtesy of Josh Lewenberg of TSN1050 -
Casey: "I'm not going to get into specifics on when Kyle's coming back, what did he do today, did he use the bathroom this morning"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 3, 2017
Lowry was also interviewed following the practice. You can view that here -
There are three ways one can look at this type of behavior. Either A) Lowry and Casey literally have no idea when he'll return; B) they're getting tired of being asked how the recovery process is going and have resorted to full blow-off mode; or C) both. Now, before exploring what I think is the more likely case, I do want to stress that Lowry and the rest of the Raptors personnel (be it coach or player) are free to handle and divulge as much or as little information regarding anything as they please. It is simply their prerogative and up to them in regards to how they handle information. They don't owe anything to anyone and we, as fans, shouldn't feel contrary to this. In situations such as these, it's best to deal with what we know rather than speculate on what we don't.
What We Know:
- When news broke about Lowry's injury, Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that he could return within four-to-five weeks, hoping to be able to play a few of the remaining regular season games prior to the playoffs.
- 5 weeks have passed since Lowry had surgery on his wrist to remove "loose bodies."
- However, no official timetable was ever released by the Raptors.
- According to Lowry, he was given a 4-6 week approximation to heal from his doctor after the surgery.
- Lowry has been noncommittal regarding a return prior to the postseason.
Look, I can understand why a player and coach would be tired of answering the same question, ad nauseum. Having to be asked if there are any updates when you, yourself, haven't been given any solid updates by the medical staff is understandably annoying. Moreover, when a player is taking the subjective approach and basing his progress on whether or not he can do certain things - full range of motion, dribble, shoot, etc. - while being unable to quantify how long it will take to rejoin the team can be even more irritating. I get all of this. Further, it's not like he hasn't given any updates with his injury - I mean, he did say his wrist feels "good," so that's something! He just hasn't given us the updates that we want to hear - i.e. "I'll be back in X amount of days!" or "I'll be ready to go in a week!" You have to believe that if this was known to anyone, we would have a better idea by now, too.
Playing it safe and not being aggressive with Lowry's return is probably what is best for the team if they want to make another Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Lowry's goal is to be 100% for the playoffs. Considering the kind of offense he provided for the Raptors prior to his injury, how well they have been playing in his absence, and how the East is ostensibly any team's to take, having a fully-healthy Lowry will give the Raptors an advantage for a strong playoff push. Should they rush it, he runs the risk of suffering a major setback, rendering the Raptors a bit more vulnerable to elimination than I'm sure we feel comfortable with. Considering the Raptors have won 14 of 20 games without Lowry, there's absolutely no reason to rush it and we ought to have complete confidence that the entire team feels optimistic with how and where they will finish come playoff time.
We all know Lowry is a tough cat and certainly doesn't want to be sitting down towards the ending stretch of the regular season. He holds his fate in his own hands, and made this crystal clear as he more than suggested that it would be his decision as to when he returns -
Does the doctor have to clear you? "No no no. It's me, Kyle Lowry, who's going to clear me. That's who's going to clear me"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 3, 2017
If we are to believe this, and there's no reason why we shouldn't, I think it's fair to expect Lowry to make an appearance for the final game or two of the regular season. Moreover, if it's solely based on how Lowry is feeling, that means his return (probably) won't be based on future x-rays or clearance from the team's physician. It's simply a matter of whether or not Lowry says that Lowry is good to go. Knowing his aggressive nature, we should expect him sooner rather than later.
Thus, I believe that Lowry and the rest of the Raptors staff do not know when he will make his return and are probably getting a bit annoyed with being asked. Of course, it's fair to wonder how the All-Star point guard of your team is feeling after seeing him participate in practice (in any capacity) for the first time since being sidelined. But a little bit of secrecy doesn't mean it's a dark and gloomy cloud. On the contrary, it may be a sign of things about to be getting much brighter. I don't want to blindly point to a date to anticipate Lowry's return, but considering that he has, at the very least, begun to practice in some way, I think it's fair to expect him sooner rather than later.
Remember, there are only 5 regular season games remaining, which includes tonight's game in Indiana. Lowry has already been ruled out for this contest, and considering it kicks off a back-to-back with the Raptors heading to Detroit tomorrow, I wouldn't expect to see him in either of these contests. However, Friday they host Miami for their final game in Toronto, so it's possible that Lowry could be good to go for that one. If not, playing in both contests against the Knicks and Cavaliers, respectively, is a real possibility.
But hey! Even if we don't see Lowry play in any of the remaining regular season games, it's not the biggest of deals. The team is playing very well, and DeRozan has been nothing short of phenomenal! Couple that with JV having a resurgence, Ibaka protecting the rim and contributing on offense, and Tucker being literally everywhere on the floor when it comes to defense, there's no reason to push it with Lowry. I mean, if having a completely healthy Lowry with absolutely no set-backs for the playoffs meant we wouldn't see him for the remainder of the regular season, wouldn't we take that?
I would. All day.
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