Raptors head coach Jay Triano wasn't confirming anything Friday, but if Evans continues to progress the way he has the past couple of weeks, Triano said it was possible Evans regular-season debut could come Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers, his former club.
Triano likes to get his players going against their former teams — he believes it's an extra motivator — but the fact that Wednesday's game is against the Sixers is just an added bonus.
"He's doing more and more each time out," Triano said.
Keeping everyone happy with more bodies and the same number of minutes to distribute falls to Triano.
“That’s going to be the tough part, and whether guys should come in and feel like they are going to get their same complement of minutes,’ Triano said. “Obviously we have to find ways to get guys a certain number of minutes, but hopefully that’s a good challenge to have. If guys aren’t ready to play, regardless of if they’re coming back from injury or not, we’ve got other guys who can step in and hopefully they can help.”
Turkoglu missed just two games since his injury — a small fracture of the orbital bone beneath his right eye — last Sunday and was back at practice yesterday playing without the fitted but uncomfortable mask he had made in Indianapolis.
DeRozan, who missed five games with a sprained ankle, went through a full practice on Friday without a setback.
The only injured Raptor not named Reggie Evans who is expected to be a question at all for Sunday is Jose Calderon.
In one of the more significant, yet subtle, changes the Raptors have made this season, for early Sunday games they get to the arena around 9 a.m. for a walkthrough up in the practice facilities.
They go over what the other team does, work on some of their own stuff but that’s really all secondary to the purpose.
The real reason is to make sure all the players are out of bed and at least functioning close to normal by the time they hit the court.
I’ve talked to a few players about it and they all say pretty much the same thing:
It’s good to get in early, break a sweat, get up some shots and then go play the game.
There have been years where there was nothing mandated for the players before early Sunday games. For a noon start, some would drift in at 9:30, some at 10, some at 10:15; they got up, dragged their sorry selves out of bed and went to work.
Now, they’re all in at the same time, they work as a group and their minds and bodies get engaged well before tip. Or so they say.
Raptor reaction ranged from indifference to concern.
Jay Triano, the head coach, pleaded ignorance of the situation.
"Honestly, I don't want to get involved in that. That's something he's got to figure out with our trainers and doctors," Triano said. "I'm happy that he wants to play."
Sonny Weems, the Raptors swingman who wore a mask over a broken nose in his junior year at the University of Arkansas, said he understands Turkoglu's distaste for the protective shield.
"I hated it when I first wore it; I looked like the Phantom of the Opera," said Weems.
But the second-year player said he thinks his veteran teammate is making a mistake by leaving his injury exposed.
"It's a big risk. I think he should wear it. If he gets hit, he probably could go blind," said Weems. "I wish he would wear it, but there's only so much you can tell a grown man."
However, it appears likely the Raptors will insist their $50-million (U.S.) asset wears a faceguard to protect an existing injury before being allowed back on the basketball court.
“He's been advised strongly that the mask is required to play right now, to protect him from any sort of longer term or more significant damage being done,” Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors' president and general manager, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
“You generally like to follow a physician's instructions and we've got someone telling us it's advisable he wears the mask.”
Colangelo stopped short of saying that the Raptors would prevent Turkoglu from playing tomorrow if he does not agree to wear the face protector.
“Well, we'll see,” he responded. “I think we need to sit down and talk with him a little bit more and I might have some more feedback for you.”
Yes, the Raptors are winning now, but Bosh obviously has dreams that are much bigger than a nation of only $30 million and a national GDP roughly equal to that of the State of Texas.
I have felt all along that Hedo’s contract would come into play next season when his contract will seem like a bargain, the 2nd and 3rd years anyways.
One thing Bryan Colangelo must be cognizant of, is that Chris Bosh will not agree to a sign-and-trade that will drain a roster or hurt his new team. He would rather sign for less money and be a legit tile contender, than sign for more money and still be on a one and done playoff team.
BC will perform his due diligence and figure out whether or not Bosh wants to stay, and if he does trade him, this summer or before the trade deadline, you can bet that Hedo will be shopped around, perhaps to the Grizzlies for Rudy Gay, or to the Spurs for Richard Jefferson.
What this individual however, failed to take into account was that even though the Raptors were part of this vast entertainment and media conglomerate, it was still in part not making the projected profits that its board and investors had come to expect. Profits of a small entity that is part of a larger conglomerate can always be made to look all the more impressive, even if the overall picture of the organization is said to be a good one. And that case can be made here for the Toronto Raptors. But when you look beyond that and you ascertain that the franchise was the beneficiary of the NBA’s largess to the tune of $20 million as part of a one time financial bailout, in terms of a loan from several major financial institutions. It does provide something of a misleading picture of what goes on within the inner workings in the day to day environment of a number of franchises around the league.
Now that the team has shown its appreciation (albeit in a strange way), I figured why not return the favor and show my appreciation for each player…
“Turk’s going to have to fall in line,” Colangelo said on Friday afternoon.
Said Turkoglu earlier in the day: “(Team officials are) trying to force me to wear the mask. I said, ‘Listen, I don’t want to.’ If (injury) happens, it happens. I can’t do nothing about it,” said Turkoglu.
Turkoglu, who fractured his inferior orbital bone, was asked how he justified the risk of playing without protection.
“Listen, you take risk in your life. Even with the mask, I’m still (at) risk to get hit,” he said. “It depends who hits you.”
Turkoglu’s choice is not about vanity. He joked his mask, which he tried in a workout earlier this week for about a half hour, looked “better” than the one that’s been worn by Pistons swingman Rip Hamilton ever since Hamilton broke his nose a few times back in 2003-04.
“I look like Zorro,” quipped Turkoglu, although nobody got a picture of him wearing the get-up (and if somebody did, well, Turkoglu has people who can make those photos go away).
"It's pretty simple: He's going to have to wear the mask," Colangelo said. "If the doctors are saying it's to protect him from further damage, possibly impaired vision, there's too much at stake."
At one point during his session with the media, Turkoglu said he would sign a waiver clearing the Raptors of any responsibility should he suffer another injury.
"There's no such waiver that would exist," Colangelo said.
Colangelo said he planned to talk about the situation further with Turkoglu and the medical staff today. However, without a change in recommendation, Turkoglu will not be allowed to play without a mask.
Jay Triano speaks with the media.
Hedo Turkoglu speaks with the media.
DeMar DeRozan speaks after practice on Friday.
More of the behind the scenes look at DeMar's rookie year.
So in are conversation we talk about how this all came to be. We get into all of how she came to be the host of this show and how she balances that along with still being part of the Dance Pak. In addition the Dance Pak got to perform as part of the Vanilla Ice halftime show and we talk about that whole experience. Along with her taking on a rather large role in the interacting with the fan base. This plus some other wacky fun.
Have you taken a moment to watch one of the NBA's hottest teams lately? I can understand if you've missed it. One of the Raptors' finest stretches in team history has gone overshadowed by some bad timing.
Case 1) Toronto's biggest win of the season over the defending champion Lakers just happened to come at the same time the now-instant classic NFC Championship Game was being played between the Vikings and Saints.
Case 2) The Raptors make it six straight wins over Indiana the same day Brian Burke overhauls Leafs nation with two blockbuster trades.
DeRozan has missed the last five games because of a right ankle sprain, but he had no doubt he would be back by now — if only because there was no way he would miss the dunk-in on all-star weekend with Clippers guard Eric Gordon to determine the fourth and final entrant in the main dunk contest. The dunk-in goes next Friday in Dallas.
"I got four [dunks] in my mind right now that I know I can pull off," DeRozan said. "I think I've got two that have never been seen before, but I don't know if I can do [them] yet."
Status of Jose Calderon: “Jose was out doing some other stuff. He couldn’t do contact today, but he was on the floor and he felt pretty good. We’ll see how all of these guys respond to a good practice today, how they feel tomorrow.”
– Will DeMar and Hedo play Sunday?: “As long as there’s no repercussions from today’s work, yeah. They both looked good today and fit right in.”
– Will DeMar slide back into the starting spot Sonny has been occupying?: “Haven’t even thought about that yet. We focused on us today. We’ll start thinking about Sacramento a little bit tonight for practice tomorrow.”
If you're a Colangelo-hater and you want him fired after this season, ask yourself this: Can you name 10 NBA general managers that are quantifiably better than him? And even if you can, what makes you think any of them would want to leave their own successful team to run the Raptors?
I've been as critical of Colangelo as pretty much anyone out there. I hated the Turkoglu acquisition and I continue to wonder if Colangelo knows how to or cares about putting together a team that can play the kind of tough defence you need to go deep in the playoffs. But the fact remains that there isn't a single available GM who I would consider to be a definitive upgrade over him. R.C. Buford, Danny Ainge, Daryl Morey, Sam Presti… those guys aren't coming to Toronto, folks.
Should Toronto make a trade, in advance of the deadline, in an effort to further improve their team right now, in hopes of being able to win their 1st Round playoff series this spring and, in the process, demonstrate to Chris Bosh that he will have a legitimate chance to compete for a league championship, in the immediate future, if he decides to renew his contract with the Raptors this off season, as a maximum salaried player?
No, the Raptors should not make a trade of this sort, in advance of the deadline, in an effort to win their 1st Round playoff series this spring.
RNBATV's Sherman Hamilton answers your questions from Twitter and Facebook.
Vanilla Ice chats with Liz West before his Fan Night performance
He has an option after this season ends which is not his own but told me that everything he's been told by the bosses is that it will be picked up and Colangelo will return for next season and beyond. As he‘s said many times, he’s committed to building a winner in Toronto and on the basketball side of things, business is operating well. As for the on court product, Colangelo told me there's no forward progress yet with regards to Chris Bosh.
The Nets haven’t gone on too many runs this year, but in their last game against the Raptors the Nets went on a 20-3 run that extended over 6 minutes. How did they do this? Is this something that they can use as a template in the future? Let’s take a look.
They Got To The Line
During this six minute stretch, the Nets were able to get to the line 5 times, hitting on 4 of them. If you read this blog on a consistent basis, you know I harp on this. The Nets are a very good foul shooting team, so getting to the line is guaranteed points. Why were they able to get to the line so much during this stretch? They were aggressive:
Let’s think about this logically. In Toronto, Chris Bosh has not only established himself as the face of the franchise, but also as the face of an entire nation. Despite not receiving the same level of media coverage as most American clubs, the Toronto Raptors are the only NBA franchise that can offer this degree of respect and adoration to CB4. In Toronto, Chris Bosh also stands as the first-option both on the offensive and defensive end, as proven by the 24 points and 11.4 rebounds he is putting up on a nightly basis. If Bosh were to sign in another winning environment it is more than likely he would become a secondary option, something that would not only lower his numbers, but also his praise.