UPDATE: It appears that Kleiza will not dress for at least one more game, according to head coach Dwane Casey before the Raptors host the Nets.
We knew the return of Raptors forward Linas Kleiza was on the horizon, but it may be coming sooner that anyone thought.
Raptors media relations tweeted this morning that Kleiza has been medically cleared to play, while Casey said the forward could be ready to suit up tonight.
The approach however, will be a cautious one as Kleiza tries to reintegrate himself into the lineup following major microfracture surgery on his right knee back in February. Casey said after shootaround that Kleiza could be available, but that doesn’t necessarily mean game action as the Raptors begin their most grueling stretch of the season.
“The game will dictate that,” said Casey. “When and if he does come back, it’s going to be a process of not just throwing him out there just to be throwing him out there. It’s going to be a process, I don’t want expectations to be over the top for him when he does come back.”
Should he earn his way back into the rotation, Kleiza should bring some needed scoring punch to the Raptors from the small forward spot, which is getting solid defence but a combined 7.3 ppg out of Rasual Butler and James Johnson to start the campaign.