The in-form Toronto
Raptors will be handed a major boost over the next few weeks with the
expected return to action of forward DeMarre Carroll. The 29-year-old
has missed the past couple of months due to a knee injury sustained at
the start of 2016, during which time the Raptors have reeled off 23
wins from 28 games.
But while the Canadians haven't exactly missed the former first-round draft
pick, his return to action heading into the postseason will give
the Raptors a real lift. Scheduled to meet up with the doctor who
performed arthroscopic surgery over the next few days, Carroll is
hoping to be given the all-clear to return to full training.
After two stand-out seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Carroll made the
move to the Raptors last summer. Having made an extremely solid start
to life in Canada, the well-travelled star’s forward momentum was
halted after sustaining a knee injury that he had tried to play through.
In his 23 appearances since arriving in Toronto,
Carroll started all but one of those games, averaging 11.7 points, 4.8
rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 38 per cent from the three-point
line in his 32 minutes on court.
Now back in light training, Carroll is still unable to take part in any
competitive practice sessions. But that could change if he's given the
green light to step it up by the doctors and re-join the rest of the
team. With a month left of the regular season, Toronto will be
well aware of the dangers of rushing the small forward back too soon,
despite the fact they are still very much in the race for the Eastern
Conference title and are currently priced around
6/1 with the NBA betting odds.
If Carroll can return to the roster over the next month, it would be
ideal for the Raptors. That way the fit-again forward can get some
games under his belt before the postseason. It will also allow
Toronto to get used to having Carroll back in the defence,
developing the sort of chemistry a team needs to be successful during
the playoffs. Currently second in the Eastern Conference, the Raptors
are one of only a few teams in the conference that can actually
challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.
The return of Carroll will definitely improve the Raptors' chances of
making it into the latter stages of the playoffs. During the Hawks’
sensational run to the Conference Finals last season, Carroll was one of
the key reasons behind the team's success and he averaged 14.6 points
in his 16 postseason appearances.
With Toronto looking to at least replicate Atlanta's achievements last
season, the nine-year veteran could be looking at another exciting
and challenging end to the campaign. While it's still hard to look
beyond the Cavaliers in terms of the Eastern Conference and the Golden
State Warriors in the race for the NBA title, Toronto, with a fully-fit
Carroll, are certainly going to be capable of upsetting the odds
between now and the end of the season.