Toronto Raptors quarterback Fred FredVVleet left a 110-104 battle over the Trail Blazers on Sunday after hitting his knees with Portland guard Anferni Simons in the first quarter, but is not expected to miss an extended period.
“He knocked on his knees and I don̵
VanVleet, who will be an unlimited free agent after this season, was trying to get out in front of Simons in transition when he and Simons hit their left knees. VanVleet immediately grabbed his knee, motioned to the submarine bench, got up, and ran to the court.
The Raptors ruled him out until the end of the game shortly after, but VanVleet soon returned to the bench and he remained there until the end of the match, applauding his teammates. However, for a team battling for a title like Toronto, the last thing Nurse wanted to see was his starting guard throwing himself on the court.
“There’s always a little immediate concern when someone falls down,” a nurse said. “It’s such a funny feeling. … You don’t want to lose anyone in a fight, do you?”
“He can play through a lot of pain, no doubt about it. But now there’s no point in going through that.”
VanVleet’s quick release put a shock on the return of Mark Gasol, who played in his first game in Orlando, Florida, and only his second game since Jan. 28. Gasol, who has dealt with multiple bouts of stomach problems throughout the season, lost a significant weight during the season, and the Raptors spoke openly about how excited they are to get him back on the court.
The feeling was mutual, as Gasol admitted that although he had been in the NBA for more than a decade and Sunday’s game didn’t count for anything, he spent the day excited to return to the court.
“Really good,” Gasol said of how he felt playing again. “Really exciting. I know it may have been a fight, but I was in order all day.
“I’m excited about this and I’m happy to help the team.”
Gasol, who played in the first half only as part of a pre-determined plan to ease things back in Orlando, had three points and four rebounds in just under 10 minutes.