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Raptors guard Kyle Lowry still has no timetable for return

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday afternoon that star guard Kyle Lowry underwent pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory injections in his back last week, and that he remains without a timetable for a return.

Lowry, who had already been ruled out of Tuesday night's game against the Utah Jazz, received the injections at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York in an effort to combat the lower back soreness that has plagued him for some time now.

The Jazz game will mark the eighth time in Toronto's last nine games that Lowry, who is averaging 14.4 points and a career-high 9.8 assists per game, will not suit up for the Raptors. The one time he did play was on Dec. 22 against the Philadelphia 76ers, when he scored 20 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in a 126-101 loss in his hometown.

After leading the Raptors to emphatic back-to-back victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors without Kawhi Leonard on Dec. 11 and 12, Lowry sat out first because of a quad injury, and the back soreness has now held him out of five straight contests.

"Yeah, I think a little bit," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before Sunday's win over the Chicago Bulls when asked if he was concerned by the amount of time Lowry has missed. "You're always concerned. You want an All-Star player back as soon as possible.

"Any of our guys, we want them back as soon as possible ... I think we're positive and hopeful that it's going in the right direction, and we'll see him back soon."

Nurse later added that Lowry should be back soon.

"We're coming to the end of it," Nurse said.

The Raptors also announced Tuesday that Jonas Valanciunas had the sutures removed from his left hand as a result of the surgery he had to repair a dislocated left thumb that he suffered when Warriors forward Draymond Green caught his hand in the second quarter of Toronto's win in Oakland on Dec. 12.

Valanciunas participated in Toronto's open practice as part of a coaches clinic here Monday with a brace on his left hand, including catching passes and shooting.