The Toronto Raptors season hasn't started yet but the team has already suffered its first injury. The team's mascot injured his achilles and will likely be out for the entire season, reports Sportsnet.
The Raptor has been with the team for the last 19 years.
"I talked to him Friday night. I was disappointed. My daughter cried. She was upset."
"The Raptor will be back. We need his spirit. And he's in our thoughts and prayers," coach Dwane Casey said at a press conference. The team has said they plan on having a back-up mascot by opening day.
The beloved mascot has drawn praise from fans and even mascots across the NBA.
We'll point to this lovely tribute from Grantland's Zach Lowe:
The sadness popping up today isn't some snarky meta-joke about the state of the Raptors franchise, or one of those "Ha, isn't this ridiculous, let's do a blog post on it and move on" bits of silliness that makes the Internet run. People are legitimately sad! And for good reason. The Raptor is a genius, a master of his craft. The in-arena experience in Toronto won't be close to the same without him.
Get better soon, Raptor.
Some of the Raptors best moments: