“It’s a big loss for us obviously since he was having a great series and a great playoffs,” the Raptors’ general manager Masai Ujiri told ESPN. “It’s a big, big blow for us and a big blow for JV. You feel for the kid. I just met with him … it’s tough on him, it’s tough on his teammates, but this is life in the NBA and we just have to carry on.”
The injury occurred in the third quarter of the Raptors’ game 3 win over the Heat on Saturday when Valančiūnas landed wrong from an attempted block, twisting his ankle after landing partially on Dwayne Wade’s foot.
Before the injury occured, Valančiūnas had already managed to rack up 16 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double in a row in the playoffs.
It is not yet clear when Valančiūnas will be able to return to the court, but the Raptors have announced that he will miss the rest of the playoffs. “He’s been playing so well,” point guard and teammate Kyle Lowry told ESPN. “He was hitting such a great peak right now, his confidence was sky-high, but for us as a team, it’s next man up. That’s kind of how we always play.”