After Heat center Hassan Whiteside went down in Game 3 vs. the Toronto Raptors, it seemed like the game, and the series, had tipped to Toronto. But then the same bad luck struck the Raptors as Jonas Valanciunas reaggravated his sprained ankle and left the game. He wouldn’t return.
Valanciunas had started to take over the game and his injury opened the door for a monster, 32-10 run before the Heat stormed back. Just as Whiteside’s injury could swing this series, if Valanciunas is limited going forward, that could do the same. Valanciunas’ injury is less severe, however, as the Raptors released a statement that X-rays were negative. He should be available for Game 4, which makes the outcome of Game 3 that much more important.
Valanciunas is averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds per game in the playoffs for Miami.