Raptors guard Fred VanVleet cleared for Game 5 of NBA Finals
Fred VanVleet has been cleared to play in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, but he will look a little different when he does.
The Toronto Raptors guard has been cleared for Monday's against the Golden State Warriors but will wear a mouthpiece when he takes to the court.
VanVleet was left with blood streaming down his face in the fourth quarter of Friday's Game 4 victory after he took an inadvertent elbow from the Warriors' Shaun Livingston, suffering a chipped tooth as well as his head cut.
He was clearly dazed on the play and received seven stitches but has not suffered any symptoms of a concussion since the hit.
VanVleet did, however, say the facial swelling is bothersome and has left his sight "a little blurry" and his eyes "watering a little at random points". Other than that, he is feeling fine.
"I'm a gambler. I gambled and sometimes it comes back to bite you in the butt," VanVleet said following Sunday's practice.
"All kids out there, wear mouthpieces. It was a weird play and I took an unfortunate shot. Now I will be wearing a mouthpiece for as long as I can manage it.
"I hate mouthpieces, I'll probably throw it away at some point, but I'm going to try."
He added: "[I've had] no symptoms, no concussion. We have great doctors; they're very annoying. They make sure we're in the right state of mind before we go out there.
"I got back home, went to the hospital, got a CT scan to make sure that no bones were broken in my face. Then [I] went and made a visit to the dentist and went home and went to sleep.
"I'm not going to smile for you, though, but I'm back to normal, so that was a good moment, and now I'm back.
"I'm not trying to be a martyr out here. They can give my tooth back. You're not going to get knocked around like that if you don't stick your nose in there sometimes.
"It was an unfortunate play, but it happens. It's basketball. If you haven't got your eye cut up or got hit in the mouth a couple times playing basketball, then you might be playing it the wrong way."
VanVleet, 25, posted a playoff career-high 21 points last time out, as the Raptors moved into a 3-1 series lead.
Toronto will have a chance to close out the series at home and stop Golden State from winning its third straight championship and fourth in five years.