ATLANTA - The Raptors will be without their sixth man for at least another week, they learned on Tuesday.
After a re-evaluation of the ulnar collateral sprain in his right elbow on Monday, Patrick Patterson, who has missed the team's last five contests, was ruled out of game action for another seven days, though he will be able to return to limited basketball activity.
Patterson, wearing a supporting brace on his injured elbow as he got some work in during Raptors' shootaround, was disappointed to hear the news.
"[It's] more bad news than good," he admitted ahead of Tuesday's game in Atlanta. "I had hopes that I would be able to come out here and participate with the team and get back to basketball."
The Raptors' versatile back-up said he's experiencing very little pain in his right arm, just discomfort, one of the reasons why he had hoped to be back on the court by now.
"From when it initially happened up until now I had pain, constantly, on the court, certain types of movements or certain types of contact would aggravate it," said Patterson, who leads all Toronto reserves in scoring, averaging 9.7 points along with 5.2 rebounds since being acquired from Sacramento on December 9.
"But now, today, there's very little pain. All the movements that hurt before don't hurt now. In my mind, I'm thinking I can [play] just going off that pain factor, but doing the ultrasound and seeing the images and seeing how far it's come along to today, I'm definitely happy to know how soon I can return."
It's not clear exactly how Patterson initially sustained the injury. He believes it originally occurred in a game against the Wizards back in February and he aggravated it in a win over the Kings on March 7.
"It is frustrating," he said, not being able to pinpoint exactly how he hurt his elbow. "If I knew what happened, hopefully I could prevent it from happening again."
Patterson had become one of the team's most valuable and consistent contributors, anchoring a second unit that has been much improved since his arrival in December. In his absence, Dwane Casey has used the trio of Steve Novak, Chuck Hayes and Tyler Hansbrough as stopgaps off the bench. Unlike Patterson, a well-rounded, two-way player, his three replacements are best suited in situational roles. Each forward has stepped up to some degree, but Patterson's shoes have not been easy to fill.
Without Patterson in the lineup over the previous five games, the Raptors' bench has been outscored by a total of 50 points. The opposition's reserves have bested them by 65 alone over the last two contests.
"At least we have to hold serve," Casey said of his second unit. "We've got to find a go-to player or a guy that can produce for us, point-wise, with that second unit. Pat was giving us some points or at least spacing the floor for us where it did give [Greivis Vasquez] opportunities to drive to the basket."
Casey would not call the latest news on Patterson's injury a setback. The team was not expecting him to be able to return right away. The Raptors' forward will be assessed again after this seven-day period and if the new timetable holds true he should miss another four-to-six games.
"It could be worse, that's the way I always look at it," said Patterson. "That's what my team and the training staff is telling me, it could be worse, but you're in a positive situation, at least you know where you stand and how soon you can come back."