Andrea aims for April 8

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 6:28 AM ET

The big rookie made an appearance at Raptors practice yesterday, doing some light jogging and putting up some shots.

At the same time, Andrea Bargnani, who had his appendix removed last Wednesday, told the media that he may be ready to return to action as early as April 8, at home against the Chicago Bulls.

Bargnani was given clearance to resume working out with the team and was told by doctors to return for a checkup at this time next week. If all goes according to schedule, he'll be able to practise next Thursday and Saturday.

"I'll need a couple of practices before I begin playing," said Bargnani, who looked all right after his light workout yesterday.

"I feel good. I'm just stretching the (surgical) cut a little bit. But it's normal."

A TV guy pressed Bargnani yesterday about how it feels to overcome such adversity.

"It's not adversity, it's just appendix," said Bargnani, prompting the media contingent to start laughing. "I feel very lucky because I just got appendix. Garbo's was a bad injury."

The Raptors lost another first-year forward, Jorge Garbajosa, for the season on Monday night in Boston when he crashed on to the court and suffered a displaced left ankle joint, which required surgery on Tuesday.

FANS FLOCK TO WEBSITE

Raptors fans were concerned about the health of Garbajosa, who went down on Monday night. The day after his accident marked the busiest day in raptors.com history as fans checked on the status of the big Spaniard. There were more than 97,000 hits on the website, resulting in 270,000 pages viewed in a 24-hour period following the game against the Celtics. A page has been setup on the website where fans can send well wishes to both Garbajosa, who is out for six months, and Bargnani.

AROUND THE RIM

Kevin Willis, who played for the Raptors from 1998-2001, was scheduled to work out for the Dallas Mavericks yesterday, and the staff will use that session to determine whether they will sign the 44-year-old seven-footer for the remainder of the season.

WHAT A JERK

It just goes to show you that winning a championship does not necessarily give one class. After the fans at the Air Canada Centre rightly booed Miami's Alonzo Mourning on Wednesday, Mourning, whose team trailed almost the entire game, put his finger to his mouth and at one point was caught on camera taunting a fan by pointing at his ring finger. Mourning refused to report to Toronto when he was dealt here in the Vince Carter trade.


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