NBA

Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas out of series vs Heat, Toronto in big trouble

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Apr 16, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) goes up to make a basket as Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) defends during the first half of game one of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors have 2-1 series lead over the Miami Heat in their Eastern Conference semifinals but are set to lose Jonas Valanciunas for the rest of the best-of-seven series in the 2016 NBA Playoffs due to an ankle injury.

“The Raptors just announced C Jonas Valanciunas is out for the rest of the Heat series due to a sprained right ankle,” Mike Mazzeo from ESPN said on Sunday afternoon.

Valanciunas played in just 22 minutes in the Raptors’ Game 3 win in Miami and already had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Valanciunas, who is from Lithuania, got hurt at around the middle of the third quarter.

Watch Valanciunas’ ankle injury in the video below.

Video courtesy: YouTube/ Ximo Pierto Final

Game 4 of the Raptors-Heat series is scheduled Monday in Miami.

This is a crucial blow for the Raptors as Valanciunas has been the most consistent player so far for Toronto in the series vs. Miami.

Valanciunas has averaged 18.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocked shots in the first three games and is a crucial player as both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have struggled in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

Lowry played well in Game 3 with 33 points but DeRozan struggled from the field again in the close win.

Without Valanciunas, the Raptors will use more of Bismack Biyombo and Luis Scola in the center position for the rest of the series against the Heat in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

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