Without DeMarre Carroll, the Raptors have managed to stay in contention. They’re comfortably in the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Carroll underwent knee surgery in January, and details of a return timeline have been unclear. The Toronto Sun‘s Ryan Wolstat reports that it might not be anytime soon:
The prized free agent signing, who is also the team’s highest-paid player, appeared close to a return a few weeks ago when he was driving to the hoop against assistant coaches and launching three-pointers. The next step was clearance for contact. But then all went dark. Carroll’s been in Atlanta tending to some personal matters (he is due back this week), the team has kept tight-lipped, but every indication from talking to various people is there has been some sort of set-back and his return this season is very much in doubt. Quietly, the team has taken the belief that he will need more time, and only a deep playoff run would let him return this season.
This is not a death blow for the Raptors’ chances of making a deep playoff run, but it certainly doesn’t help things. Carroll is their best perimeter defender, the only credible threat to guard LeBron James in a series, and it’s hard to see them getting past the Cavaliers without him. They have enough offensively to stay with most teams, but what Carroll adds on the defensive end is going to be crucial in the playoffs.