Photo credit: Vaughn Ridley/Getty

The Toronto Raptors announced today that all-star point guard Kyle Lowry, who has missed the last two games with swelling and pain in his right wrist, will undergo surgery, and “aim to return” for the playoffs:

Toronto is currently tied with the Wizards for the third seed in the East. Crucially, the third seed would take on the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs—assuming both advance that far—while the fourth seed would face the Cavaliers. Without Lowry, it seems likely they’ll fall to the fourth, or even fifth, seed.

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Of course, if Lowry isn’t healthy enough to return for the playoffs—or is severely hampered while playing—it doesn’t really matter what their seed is. Lowry is the Raptors’ best player, and has played the fourth most minutes in the league. Cory Joseph is a capable backup, but he’s a backup nonetheless, and Lowry is irreplaceable.