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Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (left ankle) out for remainder of Game 4 vs Nets

Kyle Lowry, Raptors, Nets

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, a centerpiece player on the defending NBA champions, has been ruled out for the remainder of Game 4 of the Raptors’ first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. Lowry suffered a left ankle injury.

While the Raptors wait to see how severe Kyle Lowry’s injury is, the immediate context of the injury contains a number of components.

The good news for the Raptors is that they are in command of their series against the Nets. Unlike a number of Western Conference teams battling key injuries, the Raptors don’t need to worry about a star player’s status in terms of escaping the first round. They will be in the second round; it’s just a matter of when they will arrive. Will they be able to close out Brooklyn in four, or will they need a fifth game?

This is where the picture becomes more complicated for the Raptors, and potentially problematic if the Lowry injury is appreciably severe in nature: The Boston Celtics swept the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. The Celtics are going to be fresh for a heavily anticipated Eastern Conference semifinal. The Raptors naturally need Lowry to be at his best for that series. They would have a chance without him, but their odds would certainly take a massive hit if they don’t have their heartbeat, their spiritual warrior, on the floor in reasonably good shape.

Raptors fans are fond of saying, “Kyle Lowry over everything!,” a statement of Lowry’s excellence as a player and his indomitable nature as an elite competitor, the heart and soul of a Toronto team which has risen to the NBA mountaintop.

The Raptors need Lowry on the floor, not merely providing leadership from the bench, against the Celtics.

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