The Toronto Raptors will be without their All-Star point guard in Game 5 of the opening-round playoff series against the 76ers.
Fred VanVleet will miss Monday’s 8 p.m. game at the Wells Fargo Center with a left hip flexor strain.
The Sixers have a commanding 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven series. VanVleet suffered the injury in the first half of Saturday’s Game 4 and didn’t return after leaving the court in the second quarter.
“It was in the first quarter,” he said of suffering the injury. “ [It was a] slide laterally and I just felt a little pop, click in my hip. I finished the quarter and went to the bench and put some heat on it. Then once I checked back in, it was all locked up. So I couldn’t really move. I couldn’t really lift my leg. It was difficult to move around.”
That’s when VanVleet decided to head to the locker room. He wasn’t worried about needing surgery, but knew that his day was over.
VanVleet said the hip has been bothering him “off and on” this season. He also suffered the injury “the year before.” Back then, he was able to get through it. This time, the injury was worse.
VanVleet ripped open the top of his jersey while walking off the court because of frustration, an that moment might have been the final action of the season.
This has been a rough year for VanVleet.
He missed the final three games of the regular season because of a bothersome knee injury that affected him in the second half of the season. The injuries have impacted his play this series. VanVleet is averaging just 13.8 points and 35.2% shooting after averaging a career-best 20.3 points this season.
While he can’t improve on that performance Monday, VanVleet said he’s going to be locked in all day to help coach up his teammates from the sidelines.
He doesn’t know if he’ll be available for Game 6 if the Raptors extend the series.
“I’m always going to leave the window open,” VanVleet said. “It’s not one of those things where I’m out for four weeks. Probably take some time. Hopefully, if we extend this thing, I will feel great about maybe playing in the next round.”