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Raptors rookie Valanciunas suffers mild left calf strain

Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas (C) vies f

Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas (C) vies for the ball with Macedonia’s Pero Antic during the EuroBasket 2011 quarter final round basketball match between Lithuania and Macedonia, in Kaunas, on September 14, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Petras Malukas (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Eyebrows were raised when photos surfaced of highly anticipated Toronto Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas wearing a walking boot.

The team confirmed Monday morning that he has a strained left calf. Via the Raptors official twitter account.

#Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas sustained a left calf strain. Injury not thought to be serious. No timeline set for a return.

— RaptorsPR (@RaptorsPR) September 24, 2012


That fits with what the Toronto Sun reported, which was the Lithuanian big man was not using crutches and was putting weight on the foot. Those were good signs. Walking boots are pretty standard now for foot and ankle injuries in the NBA — team are cautious so guys get them for even relatively minor stuff.

It sounds like he will not miss much, if any, of training camp. Of course, for a rookie missing any part of camp is less than ideal.

Valanciunas, the No. 5 pick in the 2011 draft, has become the face of hope in Toronto — they have some good other players but they need a big man in the middle (and he is 6’11”). After watching him in the Olympics he should help the Raptors defense almost immediately, but is offense was lagging. He played like the game was moving too fast for him, like he was a little overwhelmed. Expect there to be a real rookie learning curve. Give the kid a chance to grow.