Raptors’ Fred VanVleet has new tooth, will wear mouth guard for Game 5 on Monday
TORONTO — Moments after Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet was taken off the court in Game 4 of the NBA Finals having absorbed an elbow square to the jaw, a white shiny object resembling part of a tooth remained on the floor at Oracle Arena.
Whether it was his tooth or not, VanVleet isn’t completely sure. Either way, upon returning to Toronto on Saturday, he had two visits to make — to the hospital for a CT scan and to the dentist to get his tooth repaired.
On both counts, VanVleet said the maintenance was successful and he is expected to be ready to go for Game 5 on Monday (9 p.m. ET, ABC) despite some bruising and a bandage under his right eye, where he received stitches. That’s a big sigh of relief for the Raptors, who have counted on VanVleet to be a Steph Curry defensive stopper while averaging 12.8 points and shooting 35% from the 3-point line in the Finals.
“I’m not going to smile for you, but I’m back to normal,” he said. “That was a good moment.”
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Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is attended to in the fourth quarter. (Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)
Most importantly, VanVleet said the collision with Shaun Livingston did not leave him with any symptoms of a concussion, and he did not have any broken bones in his face. VanVleet was probably a bit lucky since the direct head shot initially left him looking a bit woozy on the floor. He said the Raptors’ medical training staff, which is regarded among the best in the NBA, is cautious almost to the point of annoyance with injuries and would not let him play if he was at risk of a head injury.
“No symptoms, no concussion. You guys can leave that alone,” he said. “Our medical staff and team doctors and trainers and everybody did an unbelievable job.”
Still, VanVleet will be making one change for the rest of this series — wearing a mouth guard.
“I gambled and sometimes it comes back to bite you in the butt,” he said. “I probably should wear a mouthpiece. All kids out there, wear your mouthpieces. It was a weird play and (I) took an unfortunate shot so now I will be wearing a mouthpiece as long as I can manage it. I’ll probably throw it at some point during the game but I’ll try.”
Follow Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken
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