Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas has been sidelined since December 12th due to a finger injury, but it sounds like he’s recovered enough to make his return for Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Blake Murphy of The Athletic confirmed the news on Thursday morning:
Valanciunas will return tonight https://t.co/zc531tde9q
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) February 7, 2019
Valanciunas suffered his injury in a game against the Golden State Warriors. Draymond Green took a swipe at the ball, but he hit Jonas in the hand. After an evaluation, it was revealed that Valanciunas had suffered a dislocated thumb.
Hand injuries have hampered Valanciunas in the past. The Lithuanian-born center fractured a metacarpal in his left hand in 2015 and bruised the same hand in 2017. This time, his timetable for return was set at 4-6 weeks, but he’s clearly going to beat that estimation.
The fact that Valanciunas is ready to return is certainly good news for the Raptors, who are currently the No. 1 team in the Atlantic Division standings with a 39-16 overall record.
In his 30 appearances with Toronto this season (10 starts), Valanciunas has racked up averages of 12.8 points on 57.5 percent shooting from the field (30.0 percent from beyond the arc), 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist and just under one block (0.8) in 18.8 minutes per outing.
Tuesday night’s Raptors-Hawks game is scheduled to tip inside State Farm Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET. Toronto has won six straight against the Atlanta, including three on the road. Let’s see if that trend continues.