Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet drives against Brooklyn Nets centre Jarrett Allen during a game on Jan. 4, 2020, in New York.

Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press

Matt Thomas’s frustration might have hit an all-time high during last week’s unsightly 84-76 loss in Miami.

The Toronto Raptors launched wide open three-pointers all night. Only six of them fell. And Thomas, a shooting specialist, was on the bench in street clothes, nursing a finger injury to his nonshooting hand.

“Obviously that Miami game was tough,” Thomas said Monday. “It’s hard to sit out, it’s hard to sit out as a shooter when we’re struggling like that. That will never happen again . . . We were getting good looks, it just was one of those nights shots didn’t fall.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Raptors shot a woeful 6-for-42 from long distance in that game, becoming just the third team in NBA history to make six or less threes on 40 or more attempts.

The good news is Thomas should finally be back in the lineup when the Raptors host the Portland Trail Blazers. The bad news: In the Raptors’ revolving door of injuries this season, Fred VanVleet is doubtful with a hamstring injury. He’ll join Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell on the sidelines, all key players Toronto could sorely use. There’s no definite timeline for their return.

“We’re low on bodies, as you know, and we could use a little shooting help,” coach Nick Nurse said. “(Thomas) is a body that can shoot, so that should be good. It’s just a matter of how much can he go and is he ready to go and is he going to be able to step right in after a long layoff and knock them down. But there’s certainly opportunity there, that’s for sure.”

The 25-year-old guard was considered the best shooter outside the NBA when the Raptors signed him in the off-season. Thomas broke a finger however on Nov. 23 versus Atlanta and has missed the past 21 games.

Thomas, who shot 48 per cent from three-point range for Valencia Basket in Spain last season, was expected to play with Raptors 905 – Toronto’s G League affiliate – on Monday, and if all went well, be in the Raptors lineup versus Portland (15-22) on Tuesday.

“It’s hard (to sit out),” Thomas said. “This one specifically, with just a finger on my nonshooting hand, it was tough. Because there was a point a few weeks ago where I could start doing things with a pretty heavy splint on. And you feel like you can play. But obviously the risk of it getting reinjured and potentially needing surgery if it got aggravated again, it just wasn’t worth it.”

Despite their long injury list, the Raptors (24-12) have managed to hold onto fourth in the Eastern Conference. They’re 5-4 since losing Siakam (groin), Gasol (hamstring) and Powell (shoulder). Nurse has said Powell will likely be the first to return. While Gasol was walking without a limp after Monday’s practice, Siakam was moving slowly.

Story continues below advertisement

Those key injuries came after the Raptors finally got Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka back. Lowry missed 11 games early in the season with a fractured thumb, while Ibaka missed 10 games with an ankle injury.

“We got hit kind of with the injury bug so far this season,” Thomas said. “But it’s something that comes with the game. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. No other team’s going to. They’re going to come in here and try to beat us. They don’t care what product we have on the court. So, we have to be ready.”

Nurse was happy just to be back practising on Monday. Coming off their busiest month of the season in terms of games, it’s a rare week with three Raptors practices schedule.

“Yup. Friday, Saturday, today. It’s good. We need it, coming off a three-practice month,” Nurse laughed. “Seriously, just about. So we need it.”

Practice is key to getting organized, Nurse said.

“You’ve got to get through some stuff, you’ve got to move positions with some guys because that’s what seems to end up happening in the games,” Nurse said. “You’ve just got to run through your basic five-on-0 stuff and then on top of that you’ve got to do some of your foundational habit building. When you’re never practising, that stuff’ll slip, so just basic get in the stance, shot challenge, block out, all those things, set screens, those things need to be reviewed as well.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Raptors beat the Trail Blazers 114-106 on Nov. 13 in Portland.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies