(WTVO/WQRF) — Fred VanVleet is all smiles despite losing part of a front tooth and needing seven stitches below his right eye Friday night. That’s because his Toronto Raptors are one win away from claiming an NBA Championship.
The Rockford native was injured in the second half when he took an errant elbow from Warriors’ guard Shaun Livingston to the face. VanVleet left the game with blood trickling down his face. He did not return.
After the game he was more than happy to smile for reporters revealing a portion of one of his front teeth missing. He later posted a photo on his Instagram account.
VanVleet’s face looked more like that of a hockey player who had just completed a physical game than the face of a basketball player. Since Canada is known for its hockey VanVleet was asked by a reporter if he felt more like a Canadian now. VanVleet was good-natured with his answer.
“No, I don’t,” he said. “And if that’s what being Canadian is, I’m not sure I want it. I don’t play hockey. I got a lot of respect for those guys and what they do. But losing a tooth is not fun. So obviously the stitches I can deal with. I was more upset that I could have the remnants of my teeth rolling around in my mouth as I was laying there on the ground.”
VanVleet has been cleared to play Monday night when the Raptors go for the clincher. By then his smile should look more normal.
“Hopefully by the next time you guys see me, I’ll have it fixed,” said VanVleet.