Get through the final preseason game healthy. That’s the only goal. Literally, the only thing in the top tier of a Preseason Game No. 7 checklist should be “survive.” And yet, the preseason is too long, randomness happens, and the basketball gods apparently don’t think highly of noted philosopher Lucas Nogueira.
After working for most of training camp to lock down the backup center position, Nogueira was turning in one of his best performances of the exhibition season on Friday. He helped on a ball-handler in the pick-and-roll, recovered, and then reached out to contest a shot. As he came down, his left foot landed on the foot of Washington Wizards’ guard Marcus Thornton, and Nogueira hit the deck, grabbing for his left ankle.
While the Brazilian was able to hobble off the floor under his own power, he’s done for the game with what the team is calling a left ankle sprain.
For a player who’s flashed plenty of talent but has struggled to provide consistency, largely due to a rash of short-term injuries, this is disappointing. But with the Raptors off now until the season opener on Wednesday, there’s room for optimism that Nogueira won’t miss any time or lose any momentum. In six preseason games entering play, Nogueira was averaging 3.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 15.8 minutes while shooting 62.5 percent. He had one rebound and one block in eight minutes before exiting.
In the interim, Jakob Poeltl should see additional time in the second half and would stand as the backup center if Nogueira and Jared Sullinger both missed the opener. It would also put additional pressure on Jonas Valanciunas, who has continued an up-and-down camp with a tough night Friday.Follow @raptorsrepublic