Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani will miss the remainder of the NBA season with an elbow injury.
The Raptors announced on Wednesday that the seven-foot Italian will be sidelined for the rest of the campaign due to a sprained right elbow.
Bargnani was hurt in the first quarter of the 118-116 loss to the LA Lakers on March 8 and did not return. A press release on Toronto’s official website revealed that the avulsion sprain of his right elbow is not related to a previous elbow injury that saw him miss 26 games earlier in the season.
The injury will officially end what has been a disappointing campaign for the former number one pick in the 2006 draft, as his production fell to near career lows in scoring and rebounding.
Andrea Bargnani was tipped by many pundits to be shipped off before the trade deadline but the Raptors reportedly had trouble convincing any potential suitors to take on his two-year contract, which has $22 million left on it.
Bargnani averaged 12.7 points this season and had appeared in 14 of 15 games prior to the new setback.
Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo was philosophical about the injury, saying that the big man was just starting to find his grove after a hard-luck season to date.
“He’s had a horrific year as far as luck goes,” he said. “It’s shame he was just starting to find his rhythm.”
The injury will no doubt stir up speculation regarding whether Bargnani has played his last game in a Raptors uniform and Colangelo addressed the question head on.
“He’s a part of the team and until he’s not a part of the team we are going to view him as a piece who is a talented player, the GM said. “Again, somewhat of an enigma who we’ll try to get the most out of.”
Andrea Bargnani did not travel with the team to Boston ahead of the game against the Celtics on Wednesday night.