Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll takes a lot of pride in being able to overcome adversity, so it wasn’t until he had started playing better again that he would admit to playing hurt recently. Carroll hadn’t been the same since an accidental kick to the head by teammate Pascal Siakam in Philadelphia three weeks ago.
“It kind of threw me out,” Carroll told Pro Bball Report. “I probably shouldn’t of come back as early as I did. I probably should have taken a couple of games off, but I’m a fighter and that’s what I do.”
He really should have sat down for a few games and recovered. In the 10 games going back to Philly, Carroll averaged 5.7 points in 25.9 minutes on 25.6 percent shooting from the field and 15.4 percent from three. He looked bad and took a ton of heat in social media.
“Outside people don’t really know what goes on with an NBA player, so it’s just one of those things,” Carroll said. “You got to have tough skin.
“I’ve been through so much I don’t take any game for granted.”
It’s easy to forget that Carroll has been through a lot in his life, doesn’t take anything for granted and appreciates the faith the Raptors have placed in him. He’s even admitted, “I don’t want that stat that I’m injury prone.” Although almost anyone watching that play in Philly would of concluded he had a concussion afterwards.
“I’ve been through a lot of obstacles in my life,” Carroll said when he first joined the Raptors. “From being shot in college, to having my liver condition, for an organization to take me under their wing and bring me here and look at me as a true part of this team, it means a lot.”
Fortunately things seem to be getting back on track over the past two games. On the back-to-back wins over the Nets and Clippers, Carroll averaged 12 points on 52.9 percent shooting from the field and he hit on 3-8 three-point attempts. He looked more like the player who was finally getting everything back together again like in did in the weeks immediately prior to getting kicked in the head.
“I am slowly getting there,” Carroll said. “It’s not only physical, it’s mental. I’m trying to come back and missing shots and my finger and everything and all this, but now I am feeling more comfortable. Hopefully going into the playoffs I’ll be playing the best basketball.”
It’s been frustrating for the fans in Toronto to watch Carroll underperform because of injuries, but it’s been more frustrating for Carroll. He had high expectations for his new team and himself when he joined the Raptors last season and it wasn’t until mid December of this year that he was finally able to play every game and produce like he expected he would.
This setback, however, should be brief and hopefully, well before the playoffs, Carroll will be playing like he did on that 60-win Atlanta Hawks team.
“I really didn’t have the whole summer to workout like most guys, so at the end of the day I am trying to get my rhythm and everything thru the season,” Carroll said. “My knee is great (now). I got nicks and bruises, finger and elbow, but the knee’s great, so I just got to keep pushing.”
There is no doubt Carroll will give all that he has. He been through tougher situations than this.