Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan
Nov 28, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) reacts after going down with a leg injury against the Dallas Mavericks at Air Canada Centre. The Mavericks beat the Raptors 106-102. Reuters

Without DeMar DeRozan, the Toronto Raptors played well enough to stay in the hunt for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Canadian team is all set to get back their franchise player— as early as Thursday, according to reports, roughly a month after suffering from a groin njury.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports was one of the first to announce the development on social media Twitter.

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan slated to return next Thursday vs Hornets after missing last 17 games with a left thigh injury,source told Yahoo

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 3, 2015

Over the span of DeRozan’s missed games, the Raptors went 11-6— respectable enough considering DeRozan is one of Toronto’s top scorers at 19.4 points per game. The five-year pro also averages 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game. With DeRozan in the line-up, the Raptors went 13-3. Overall, the Raptors are 24-9 just a game back off the Atlanta Hawks (25-8), the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference.

DeRozan, who suffered the groin injury on Nov. 28, 2014 in a 106-102 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at home, started joining the Raptors in full practices last Jan. 1 and in light practices a week before that. The Raptors got lucky with the injury as DeRozan did not need surgery or a long-term rest.

In lieu of DeRozan, other Raptors have upped their scoring and production including the likes of Terrence Ross (12.1 PPG), Lou Williams (14.9 PPG), Greivis Vasquez (9.7 PPG)and James Johnson (7.7 PPG). With DeRozan’s impending return— projected to be the game against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday, Jan. 8, Toronto is expected to continue their chase for the no. 1 spot in the East. The Raptors take on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday (Jan. 4), Boston Celtics on Saturday (Jan. 10) and Detroit Pistons on Monday (Jan. 12).

To contact author of this article, email