Vince hurt as Raps bow in OT

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Another heartbreaking Raptors loss, another Vince Carter trade rumour and another Vince Carter injury.

What day of the week is this anyway?

As the Raptors were falling 90-86 in overtime to the defending champion Detroit Pistons last night before a sellout crowd of 22,076 at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., some Raptors-related trade rumours were swirling around the NBA's Western Conference, particularly in New Orleans.

But things took a substantial twist in the third quarter, when Carter pulled up lame while dribbling along the baseline at the offensive end. The initial diagnosis was a strained left Achilles tendon, and Carter did not return to the game.

Carter will be re-evaluated in Toronto today, so there remains a possibility it could be worse.

Uncharacteristically, Carter did not speak with reporters afterward, choosing instead to hobble directly to the team bus.

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock was asked how Carter's injury could impact the team's efforts to trade him.

"I don't make any comments about (trades)," Babcock said. "With something like this, we're concerned about the player's health. The last thing we're thinking about is any trade stuff."

Carter's left Achilles had been bothering him earlier on the Raptors' six-game trip, which wrapped up last night. The Raptors went 1-5 on the junket to drop to 7-14 overall.

The Raptors played well without Carter in the fourth quarter and outscored Detroit 22-11 to force OT. But some questionable shot selection in the extra frame, as well as some key rebounds by the hosts, doomed the visitors.

Before the game, league and media sources out West indicated the Raptors and New Orleans Hornets have broached the subject of a possible multi-player transaction that would send Carter, Jalen Rose and at least one other lower-salaried player to the Hornets for Toronto native Jamaal Magloire, P.J. Brown and two or three other players -- all for salary-matching purposes. Some draft picks might be involved, too.

Magloire has a broken ring finger on his right hand and could be sidelined for another couple of months.

Reports last week suggested the Raptors had some interest in Brown, but those rumours did not involve Carter and/or Rose.

While the possibility of dealing Carter and Rose to the Portland Trail Blazers has dried up for the moment, the New York Knicks have remained in the picture. The Knicks apparently have offered virtually every mediocre or inappropriately high-salaried player on their roster, in various combinations, to try to pry Carter loose.

But with Carter's injury, can anything happen now?

The Raptors already had defeated the Pistons once this season, back in the second game of the campaign. And last night the Raptors started out well again, jumping out to a 10-point lead in the second quarter.

However, by the half Detroit was back on top, 38-37. Ironically, the 38 points scored by the Pistons represented a season-low for a Raptors opponent.

After Carter went down, the Pistons built a 13-point lead. The Raptors fought back and went ahead for a spell late in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't hold on.

Donyell Marshall led the Raptors with 22 points and 15 rebounds, both season-highs. Carter had five points in 18 minutes before getting hurt.

The Pistons, who improved to 10-8, were led by Richard Hamilton with 19 points.

The reeling Raptors will play host to Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.


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