NBA: Toronto Raptors sweating over Jonas Valanciunas injury


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Toronto Raptors are bracing themselves for bad news after center Jonas Valanciunas picked up an injury in the convincing victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

Valanciunas was coming into the game on the back of a strong season debut, scoring 23 points with 15 rebounds in Thursday’s win over the Chicago Bulls, but he was forced to withdraw in the first half against the 76ers.

The Lithuanian, who has been with the team since 2012, suffered a left ankle sprain when he was fouled by Dario Saric and he had to leave the court just a couple of minutes later.

He did stay on to shoot his free throws but was then seen heading to the locker-room and, having failed to return, reports are suggesting he could be facing some time on the sidelines.

Despite losing the 25-year-old, Toronto recorded a comfortable 128-84 victory and made it two wins from as many matches this season, putting them second in the Eastern Conference.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey has confirmed Valanciunas will undergo an MRI exam to discover the extent of the problem and the injury could present an opportunity to Jakob Poltl.

The 22-year-old has been with the team since 2016 and, having spent the previous campaign with Raptors 905, he will be hoping to make a real impact in the NBA this year.

Following their good start to the season, Toronto are 51.00 to be crowned champions this year, while Golden State Warriors are the firm 1.53 favourites to lift the trophy for a fourth consecutive time.

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