Ronald Roberts will miss the remainder of the 2015-16 D-League season, Raptors 905 announced Wednesday.
The All-Star power forward has been sidelined since Feb. 5 due to a right patellar tendon strain. He had missed time due to minor hip, ankle, and knee ailments prior to that point, and while he was able to suit up for small minutes in the D-League All-Star Game, his knee flared up once he returned to practice.
Roberts left the team last week to return home to Bayonne, New Jersey, to receive a follow-up. While there, he was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to push along the healing process, and he’ll now undergo six weeks of rehabilitation. PRP injections take the patient’s blood, put it in a centrifuge to separate platelets from other blood cells, then combine the more concentrated platelets with the other blood and inject the platelet-rich (and growth factor-rich) blood into the injured area to speed up healing. Roberts will remain with the team through the end of the season, he told Raptors Republic.
Considering the initial injury was only expected to cost him two weeks, and considering how close to a call-up Roberts seemed, this is a disappointing turn. It’s particularly disappointing for Roberts, who spent the entire D-League season knocking on the NBA’s door. At one point ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the league, Roberts eschewed overseas opportunities before the season and overtures from Maccabi Tel Aviv during the year in order to remain close to the NBA, where he spent two days last season but never got into a game. He stood as one of the D-League’s best rebounders and energy players, and had spent the season displaying refined skill and finesse on offense.
In 24 games, he averaged 18.1 points on 61.7-percent shooting, while adding 12.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.5 blocks. It was his second consecutive season dominating the paint in the D-League, as he averaged 17.5 points and 11.9 rebounds a season ago, too. The lack of a call-up was astonishing, given his production, and it wasn’t based solely on athleticism, either. While the 6-foot-8 Roberts is an obscene athlete, he’s also greatly improved his footwork and patience in the post, has made strides as a passer, and extended his range out close to the 3-point line (he even hit a corner three in the All-Star Game). He’s also a steady defender in a man-to-man or help scenario, and no (current) D-Leaguer boasts a better rebounding resume. The 905 were outscoring opponents by 20.1 points per-100 possessions with Roberts on the floor, a far cry from their minus-2.1 PPC mark overall.
Alas, Roberts will have to wait until next season to try to crack the NBA. The six-week prognosis will leave him plenty of time to get ready for summer league in July, should he opt to go that route, and it will be interesting to see if the Toronto Raptors organization, who gave him a sizeable guarantee to attend training camp this year, try to keep him in the fold.
In any case, the skater-turned-baller should still get a long look from multiple clubs if healthy. He’s still just 24 and the Raptors organization will surely speak highly of him to any other franchises who inquire. He’s also an NBA talent, and considering there’s no structural damage to the knee, that’s probably not going to change over six weeks.
The 905 conclude their season on April 1.