Report: Raptors’ Carroll, Valanciunas could be cleared for practice soon

Associated Press
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The Toronto Raptors could use DeMarre Carroll‘s defense on the perimeter shooting. The Raptors miss Jonas Valanciunas in the paint — they are nine points per 100 possessions better when he plays than when he sits. When Carroll and Valanciunas are on the court together this season, the Raptors have outscored their opponents by 4.4 points per 100 possessions.

They could get them both back soon. Valanciunas has been out with a broken hand. Carroll has officially been out with a bruised knee, but he had been playing through foot issues and could use the time off. Both are nearing a return, reports Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

The Raptors at 16-11 are right in the middle of the crowded second tier in the East, where 2.5 games separate the second seed Bulls and the 10-seed Celtics going into Friday night’s action. That the Raptors have hung in there with two key starters out is impressive.

With them back, maybe the Raptors can start to separate themselves from the pack.