DeMar DeRozan slated to return for Raptors Thursday vs. Hornets

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The Raptors were sitting at first place in the Eastern Conference standings when their leading scorer, DeMar DeRozan, went down with a groin injury back on Nov. 28.

After 17 games without him, they’re only a half-game behind the Hawks for that same top spot.

That’s not an indicator that DeRozan isn’t important; Toronto has gone 11-6 in his absence. It’s more a testament to the depth of talent on a well-coached roster, but either way, the Raptors won’t have to play without him for much longer.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan slated to return next Thursday vs Hornets after missing last 17 games with a left thigh injury,source told Yahoo

Toronto has just one more game before then, a contest in Phoenix on Sunday against the Suns. After that, the team will have three days of practice time to get DeRozan reacclimated, before facing a soft opponent at home in his first game back.

DeRozan was his team’s leading scorer at the time of the injury, though Kyle Lowry has stepped up and overtaken him in that category during the time he’s been out. DeRozan is averaging 19.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 33.6 minutes per game for the Raptors this season.