NBA

Jonas Valanciunas.

Jonas Valanciunas is still a long way off a return for the Toronto Raptors

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The Eastern Conference semi-final series between the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat has seen a number of big players go down with injuries.

Hassan Whiteside, Udonis Haslem and Amar'e Stoudemire are all out of action for the Heat while Toronto are without their Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas.

With a winner takes all encounter approaching between the two organisation on Sunday, both teams will be hoping their rosters will be as close to full-strength as possible by the time the victor faces the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.

However, it seems Valanciunas, who is definitely out of the big game at the Air Canada Centre, is unlikely to be fit again in time for a potential game one showdown with the Cavs.

The center has not played since suffering an ankle injury in game three and head coach Dwane Casey said he was "nowhere close to being ready."

Valanciunas has been a big loss for the Raptors as he was their best player during the opening exchanges of the series.

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat - Game Three

The franchise have had to adapt to the loss, and put themselves in a strong position leading into game six. However, they have to react again after Erik Spoelstra's tactical switch to play Justice Winslow at the five spot changed the dynamic of the game on Friday night.

Topics:
NBA
Jonas Valanciunas
Toronto Raptors
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
DeMar DeRozan

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