Unlike previous pre-seasons when knee problems have not just taken him off the floor but rendered him incapable of doing almost anything, Bosh’s hamstring strain was far less restrictive.
"This year there were no problems at all. It was just a very, very mild muscle related (setback)," Bosh said. "There weren’t days where I was sitting around doing nothing, where I couldn’t move anything. I was able to do some kind of training or do some cardio in anyway. I could do everything but run so I don’t feel like I missed much."
And perhaps even more important than that, Bosh, as well as Hedo Turkoglu, who also saw his first action yesterday at practice but will not travel to Minnesota, were with the team when new sets or the new defensive principles were introduced to the team.
Relaxed and rested, Hedo Turkoglu is just about ready to jump into his first Raptors season with both feet.
The most-sought after free agent of the off-season has been catching up on some much-needed rest while the rest of his teammates got a two-week headstart on him.
Turkoglu has been around since Day 1 of training camp but yesterday marked the first time he ran sets with the team. Barring anything unforeseen he should be joining his teammates on the floor on a regular basis starting next week.
"I’m feeling better — physically and mentally," Turkoglu said after practice. "Hopefully in the next week, I will start practising with the team and get in game shape and be 100% for opening night."
Bothered by sore knees and a body worn down by a busy summer, the 30-year-old Turkoglu hasn’t done anything of substance so far in training camp.
But he did take part in five-on-none shell drills with the team Thursday, his most active practice so far.
"Those guys (Bosh and Turkoglu) have been paying attention on the sideline, it’s not like they’ve been in the training room," said coach Jay Triano.
"They’ve been up here and watching and both of them have extremely high basketball IQs, so it was no problem for them to fit in. Both the defensive and offensive shell stuff we did today, they were on top of.
"It’s the first time that he (Turkoglu) has been involved in the team stuff, on the five-on-zero stuff, but he’s been out on the floor and watching and participating in shooting drills and non-contact stuff."
“I don’t need much time,” he said after a light practice at the Air Canada Centre yesterday. “[Training camp] is part of the job, but with the time I put in this summer it won’t take long [to get] ready. It’s in me, I just have to play a few games and I’ll be back where I want to be. I might be back now, I don’t know."
He had the option of staying behind and getting more treatment, but he declined and showed up to the ACC with his bags packed ready to take the trip west.
Bosh is familiar with being restricted in training camp. Two seasons ago he was shut down for most of the month-long build-up to the regular season with a knee problem. Things were made worse because he had spent most of the summer resting his foot due to a bout of plantar fasciitis that had hindered him in 2006-07.
"I don’t know how many minutes he’ll play," Triano said. "We’ll probably be very restrictive of what he does on the floor, but it’ll be nice to have him around the team and to go through the routine of game day and of shoot-around and stuff like that and get him back into the fold a little bit.
"Then we’ll see how he does with his minutes and what his fatigue level is like. But he worked hard this summer so we don’t expect it’ll be too long before he’s back 100 per cent."
The good thing for the former Wildcat is that part of that transition means him being on the court with the ball in his hands. Before games he works with players on their jump shots, their offensive moves, the way they should set their feet before shooting. He throws pass after pass after pass to the young players, working up a sweat, occasionally shooting. The desire to play the game is still there. The body just isn’t.
"My knee has bothered me since back in college," he admitted. "But it was never anything I couldn’t play through. But then in the last few years of my career, I just couldn’t do it anymore. The doctors told me I couldn’t play. I have arthritis, there’s some cartilage damage in there. It’s a mess.
"I still want to play and I didn’t want my career to end because of health reasons. But that’s what happened."
Toronto Raptors Preview
The good news for the Raptors is they are 0-0. This will change when the NBA season begins October 28 as Lebron, Shaq and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers visit Toronto. Since the team entered the league in 1995, the Raptors have seen seven head coaches, all of whom with losing records. Current Head Coach, Canadian Jay Triano, boasts a record of 25-40 after taking over from the fired Sam Mitchell just 17 games into the 2008-09 season.
The Raptors overall record is 462-654 (.414 winning percentage). They have qualified for the playoffs a mere five times earning an 11-20 record (.355). In addition, Toronto has advanced beyond the first round just once.
However, there is hope, with all-star Chris Bosh, former first round overall pick Andrea Bargnani and recently signed ex Orlando Magic Hedo Turkoglu on the current roster. Bosh turned down a contract extension this summer, meaning he qualifies for unrestricted free agency next year. Any bets he will leave the Raptors den. The ball is clearly in his court.
Don’t shake hands. No chest bumps, props or shared water bottles. If you’re feeling under the weather, don’t come to the game. And if you’re really under the weather, there will be no game at all.
So has gone the global reaction to the H1N1 virus pandemic. As the flu season takes hold here at home, Toronto’s sports teams and schools are readying themselves – or not.
"Travelling in close quarters like we do all the time it would devastate a team if it ever hit us," Raptors head coach Jay Triano told The Star‘s Doug Smith. "We’re being very careful with the cleanliness and trying to clean up our locker room and everything around it."
We’re getting close to the start of the NBA season, so let’s get into the previews.
With the Eastern Conference getting more and more competitive, here’s a break down of one of the teams that may be a surprise: the Toronto Raptors.
But one could chalk up Tuesday’s performance to a summer off recuperating from a hamstring injury that was far worse than anyone had been led to believe. Plus the off season finger surgery which prevented Jose from almost any basketball related activity. Making the rust and lack of conditioning easily understood.
But even this didn’t explain how Jose Calderon somehow looked smaller, slighter than he did last year. Well during Wednesday night’s game we got an explanation. Jose Calderon has lost about 15 lbs since the end of last season.
Now when one looks at Jose on the floor the reason he looks so different from last year makes sense. Last year’s 205 lb point guard is now a slimmed down 190 lbs (or there about).
Credit Colangelo with putting the team in a position to enter the playoff discussion. Will Bosh’s uncertain future with the team be a distraction? Will Turkoglu, showing signs of slippage, produce at the same clip as last season? Can Bargnani improve his rebounding? Will Jack have to play, out of position because DeRozan or Belinelli aren’t ready for the lion’s share of shooting guard minutes? While I’m not sure answers to all of the above are positive, this is still a playoff contending team – sixth, seventh or eighth seed is a realistic target.
- If a tree falls in Minnesota….
- DeRozan and Triano audio from Minny