Raptors’ Fred VanVleet reportedly out five weeks following thumb surgery

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The signing of Jeremy Lin as a reserve guard helps mitigate this, still, the loss of the heart and soul of Toronto’s second unit for more than a month is a big blow.

Fred VanVleet has suffered a ligament issue in his thumb and now has decided to undergo surgery to repair it, which will sideline him for five weeks, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

This is two weeks longer than the initial reports and will have VanVleet out until just a couple of weeks before the start of the playoffs. With VanVleet out, Lin — just signed as a free agent after a buyout in Atlanta — will be thrown into the fire of a playoff chase as Kyle Lowry‘s primary backup.

VanVleet is averaging 10.5 points per game and shooting36.6 percent from three this season, mostly off the bench. A Sixth Man of the Year candidate a season ago, his efficiency has dipped this season as he battled through a series of minor injuries. If you’re looking for a bright side in this, it’s that the VanVleet that does return to the Raptors for the postseason will be fully healthy.