MINNEAPOLIS - Raptors' forward Patrick Patterson is expected to miss at least 7-10 days to rest a ligament injury in his right elbow, the team announced ahead of its game against the Timberwolves Sunday night.
It is unclear exactly when Patterson originally sustained the injury, an ulnar collateral sprain to his shooting elbow, but after aggravating it in Friday's win over Sacramento the Raptors' medical and coaching staff have decided to shut him down for the time being.
"It's never a good time to lose a guy like him because he has been so important to us, offensively and defensively," Dwane Casey said, just over an hour before tip-off at The Target Center. "It's a big [loss] because of how he stretches the floor and the things he brings to the table."
Patterson, acquired in a trade from Sacramento on Dec. 9, leads Raptors' reserves in scoring, averaging 9.7 points in 39 games with Toronto this season.
Playing a minute (per game) less than he was with the Kings prior to the trade, Patterson is averaging nearly three more points, shooting 49 per cent, up from 41 in Sacramento. He's also grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game and shooting the three-ball at a 44 per cent clip.
"It's tough, the way he's been shooting the ball, the way he's been rebounding the ball," said John Salmons. "[He] gives us that dimension coming off the bench. As a big, [he] kind of changes the opposing team's mindsets when he comes in because he's a different player from Amir (Johnson) and [Jonas Valanciunas]. It's definitely a tough loss for us."
The fourth-year forward will be re-evaluated in about a week and the team is hopeful that he'll be available to return shortly after that.
In the meantime, Tyler Hansbrough figures to absorb most of the 23 minutes Patterson was playing nightly. Bruiser Chuck Hayes and sharpshooter Steve Novak will also be in the mix, depending on match ups.
"Everybody stays prepared and guys have done a good job of staying prepared," Casey said, "but [the] next guy up has got to be ready to step in and take up those minutes and produce.
"Patrick's been a big part of that, that depth at that position," he continued. "For the second unit, the energy he brings to the table, his shooting, his defence, his rebounding, just his overall intensity it really adds a lot to that second unit, which is huge. But again, we still have some other quality guys. Tyler Hansbrough's played a lot of playoff games, Steve Novak is one of our best shooters. So we have different guys that can step in and give us something different. So now is an opportunity."