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Basketball Nothing to be done about Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry’s thumb until off-season

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) dribbles the ball past Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill (3) during game four of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena.

John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Kyle Lowry will be playing in pain for the rest of the postseason.

Whether the Raptors’ thrilling playoff run ends against Milwaukee, or Toronto goes on to make its first appearance in the NBA finals in franchise history, the point guard said the pain will be a constant companion.

“I will not be able to get it taken care of until after the season’s over,” Lowry said at Thursday morning’s shootaround.

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The 33-year-old Lowry injured his thumb during Game 7 of the conference semi-finals against Philadelphia when he fell on it and it “popped out.” He’s since been wearing a blue compression glove – his “oven mitt” as he calls it – that helps with circulation.

How bad’s the pain?

“It’s pretty bad. Honestly, it’s pretty bad,” Lowry said. “We’ve been taking pains to make sure that during the game that we limit the pain as much as possible . . . but it is what it is. No complaining.”

Lowry said every time he uses the hand, whether it’s shooting, dribbling, taking charges, or poking the ball away from an opponent, the pain’s there.

“It hurts on everything,” he said, ahead of Game 5 of the series Thursday evening at Fiserv Forum.

Can he do any more structural damage at this point?

“I don’t think so. We’ll figure that out. We’ll figure it out,” he said.

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Despite the pain, Lowry has been excellent in this series. He scored 30 points in the Raptors’ narrow loss in Game 1, then provided a huge spark for the Raptors in their 120-102 Game 4 rout that evened the series, scoring 12 of his team’s first 17 points.

“Just playing basketball,” he said. “Just trying to help my team win. It’s not about scoring for me, it’s about everything else, and I think just the aggressiveness of me in generally offensively has helped the team in general.”

Asked if he can tell Lowry’s playing hurt, Pascal Siakam pointed to a wayward pass in the first quarter.

“Usually, his passes are always on point. But that pass . . . I don’t know,” Siakam laughed. “But he’s a warrior. It doesn’t matter whether he’s injured, he’s always put it all on the line. And he does everything to make sure that we win. That’s definitely a guy that I always want to have on my team.”

Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Lowry’s hand is “not great,” but he’s proud of how his all-star guard is playing in spite of it.

“It causes him a lot of pain,” the coach said. “But he seems to be able to manage it through the game and do what he can do.

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“He’s obviously scoring and playing great on top of the other things he always does, and we’re really [seeing] a heck of a lot of toughness and the spirit that he just wants to be out there and help his team any way he can.”

The injury is similar to the sprained thumb that former Raptor DeMar DeRozan suffered in the 2016 playoffs. That injury was a big storyline of that playoff run, after the team’s director of sports science Alex McKechnie was spotted wrapping DeRozan’s thumb tightly in a red shoelace during timeouts. The pressure from the shoelace facilitated drainage and mobilization.

The Raptors were ousted by Cleveland in the conference finals in 2016, the only other year Toronto has made it to the East final.

Game 6 of this series is Saturday in Toronto. A game 7, if necessary, would be back in Milwaukee.

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