TORONTO — The Raptors may have to face Cleveland on Friday without Kyle Lowry.
Toronto's dogged point guard is questionable after spraining his left ankle in Wednesday's 125-103 loss to the Cavaliers, and backcourt partner DeMar DeRozan said his absence would be "a big problem," for a Toronto team that's two losses away from elimination.
"Kyle is our driving force, our point guard, our leader. So for us not to have him anything close to 100 per cent, it would be difficult on us," DeRozan said. "But next guy, everybody else gotta do something a little bit more to fill whatever void it is he can't fully do out there on the court."
Lowry missed Thursday's practice at Biosteel Centre and was scheduled for an MRI later in the day, according to coach Dwane Casey.
The injury occurred early in the third quarter when Cleveland's Tristan Thompson shoved Norman Powell, who hit Lowry from the side while falling.
"I don't think the officials saw that part of it," Casey said of Thompson's shove. "I don't think Tristan did it maliciously, but he threw him down, threw Norm down into his ankle, and all of his weight went onto his ankle. So I knew it was bad when I first saw it. I was surprised when he came back out, but they were telling me the best thing for him to do was to continue to play, because if it cooled off it would really be bad."
Lowry was arguably Toronto's best player in the two losses to Cleveland, scoring 20 points in both games.
The three-time all-star missed 21 games late in the regular season after undergoing wrist surgery. The team fared surprisingly well, going 14-7 in his absence.
"It's unfortunate, obviously, when anyone goes out, especially one of our stars," said Cory Joseph, who started in Lowry's absence. "I just think we have that mentality of next man up, just playing hard, as we do when he's there and we were able to win games. Next man mentality and we're all playing good together."
Joseph had 22 points on Wednesday, but much of it was in the fourth quarter after both coaches had emptied their benches.
He averaged 4.7 points per game in 16.1 minutes a night in the regular season.
Lowry averaged 15.1 points in 38.7 minutes per game.
Cavs superstar LeBron James saw Lowry go down, saying the injury "didn't look that great."
"I just wanted him to get up. He's a good friend of mine, a well-respected guy in our league and we never, no matter throughout competition you don't want anybody to get hurt. Throughout playoffs or period," James said. "I know he wasn't able to finish the game. Probably just started his treatment early to start getting ready for Game 3."
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press