Carter will get his day in court

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

Vince Carter's day in court has been pushed back.

Carter, the Raptors' marquee player, presently is in Columbia, S.C., where he's set to defend himself against a $14-million US lawsuit filed by his former agent, convicted felon William (Tank) Black.

Carter has counter-sued, which is standard procedure in these matters.

Black is in prison, serving a five-year term for stealing at least $12 million US from his clients.

Reports yesterday indicated the start of the trial had been pushed back to today because the judge assigned to the case was unavailable. Other reports suggested things weren't supposed to start until today anyway.

Regardless, Carter missed the Raptors' 102-98 pre-season loss in Denver against the Nuggets last night and will miss the pre-season game in Portland against the Trail Blazers tonight.

The Raptors may have been missing Carter, but that didn't stop coach Sam Mitchell from expressing extreme disappointment with the players who started last night. Five and a half minutes into the first quarter, Mitchell yanked Morris Peterson, Jalen Rose and Loren Woods.

"Our starters didn't come to play," Mitchell said. "The guys on the bench kept getting us back in the game. I always tell people, if you don't want to play, I won't get mad at you. Just tell me before the game."

Carter's availability for the Raptors' final pre-season game, on Friday at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers, is not guaranteed, either. However, he probably could make it to Toronto in time for tipoff even if he had to spend the morning in court.

"Vince told me at the beginning of training camp that this was going to occur," Raptors general manager Rob Babcock said last night. "When the law calls, you have to go."

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said he was assured by Carter that he will continue to work out during his absence from the team.

Morris Peterson started in Carter's place last night.

The Raptors also were missing centre/forward Jerome Moiso (strained left hamstring) and guard Alvin Williams (sore right knee).

Williams is continuing to gather opinions on the state of his knee, and he visited Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo., yesterday.

"I don't have any of the results yet," Williams said. Unfortunately, surgery may wind up being the best option for Williams, but he would have to miss the entire season.

Raptors centre Loren Woods played last night despite a bruised left hand.


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