TORONTO - It wasnt until practice let out that Raptors players learned about the news sending shockwaves around the NBA early Sunday afternoon. Kevin Durant, the leagues reigning MVP, could be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a right foot fracture that may require surgery. The Raptors were already in the gym as word of the injury spread over social media. Its very tough, man, its very tough, said Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez, a good friend and high school teammate of Durant, as he processed the information. I didnt know about KD, I just found out and Im going to pray for him and hopefully he comes back even stronger. Durant is just the latest star player to sustain a significant injury before the start of the upcoming regular season. Wizards talented third-year guard Bradley Beal broke his wrist in an exhibition contest last week, an injury that required surgery and will keep him out of action for roughly two months. Celtics all-star point guard Rajon Rondo broke his hand in a freak accident at home. And then theres Paul George, whose gruesome leg injury in a Team USA scrimmage over the summer will cost him his entire season. Its just hard, Vasquez added. Our sport is very physical and injuries are part of the sport, unfortunately. The NBA is going to continue. Like many others around the Association, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey has taken notice and plans to exercise caution before the stakes rise at the end of the month. Were going to be smart with it, Casey said Sunday, promising to monitor the minutes of his prized backcourt - DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry - closely for the duration of the pre-season. The list of recently fallen star players serves as further proof that injury prevention is not a simple proposition. High performance athletes, like anyone else really, can get hurt anywhere, at any time, whether its the result of overexertion or simply bad luck. You can slip down the stairs and hurt yourself, DeRozan noted. The Raptors were fortunate with good health a year ago, losing just 52 games to injury or illness, fewest in the NBA. While Torontos training and medical staff, one of the leagues finest, deserve credit there are far too many variables - some of them luck dependent - to count on that good fortune repeating itself in 2014-15. For a team with their sights set on April and May, the risk of setting an impact player back before games begin to matter is just not worth it. You can work hard but weve got to be smart in making sure we are efficient with [their] minutes on the floor, said Casey. That way [they] maintain that rhythm offensively and also establishes our defensive identity but we dont want to wear out everything in exhibition, especially with the guys who are going to have high minutes in regular season play. Both of Torontos starting guards logged career-highs in minutes played last season. Only two players, Durant and the Mavericks Monta Ellis, saw more court time than DeRozan. By late March, Casey and his staff were forced to cut back on Lowrys minutes as the aches and pains of a long season began to catch up with him. Meanwhile, DeRozan - coming off a busy summer, playing for USA in the FIBA World Cup - hasnt had much time for rest since the Raptors were eliminated in seven games during the first round of the playoffs. Looking to be in mid-season form, theyve each hit the ground running in exhibition but, through three games, Lowry is playing just over 26 minutes per night and DeRozan has logged an average of 22. The Raptors will be halfway through their eight-game pre-season slate following Mondays contest in New York. Casey intends to utilize the next couple weeks to experiment with different lineups, take a look at some of the teams younger players and, hopefully, manufacture some much-needed rest for his two workhorses. 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The 18-year-old centre was the Senators first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The six-foot 196-pound native of Salmon Arm, B. Barry Church Jersey . This weeks topics include his take on the Kevin Pillar incident, All-Star snubs, the firing of Padres general manager Josh Byrnes and more.LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford hit clutch 3-pointers in the final minute and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 101-97 Friday night for their first victory of the preseason.Crawford finished with 25 points and Spencer Hawes added 24. Blake Griffin had 17 points, and Paul finished with 11 points and nine assists for the Clippers (1-3).Gordon Hayward scored 22 points to lead Utah (4-1). Trey Burke had 21 and Derrick Favours added 19 points and 10 rebounds.Favours made a bank shot and a reverse layup to give Utah 92-89 edge late in the fourth quarter. Crawford responded with a tying 3-pointer before Rudy Goberts dunk gave the Jazz the lead back with 1:02 left.Pauls 3 with 41.7 left put the Clippers back in front. Favours made a free throw at the oother end, tying it at 95, but Crawford hit his fifth 3 with 18.dddddddddddd5 seconds remaining and Hawes added a breakaway dunk to seal the win.Griffin and Jazz reserve forward Trevor Booker had to be separated after Booker committed a hard foul on Griffins drive to basket with 2:56 left in the third quarter and Jazz leading 66-61. The referees took another look at the sequence on the replay screen at midcourt and assessed a flagrant 1 foul on Booker, who also received a technical foul along with Griffin and Paul.The Clippers used a 9-2 run over the final 1:15 of the third quarter to take a 75-74 lead. It included a four-point play by Crawford, who holds the NBA career record in that category with 41 during the regular season.The Jazz led 47-46 at halftime. 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