Carter needs weekend to heal

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

The fragile Vince Carter, to the surprise of no one, is officially a damaged good yet again.

But fortunately for the Raptors, and potential trading partners, the oft-injured star simply suffered a mild strain of his left Achilles tendon Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons.

The Raptors (7-14) announced yesterday Carter will miss two home games this weekend --tonight against the Denver Nuggets and Sunday against the Miami Heat -- as the team attempts to snap a five-game losing streak following a 1-5 road swing. Carter, who underwent medical testing yesterday in Toronto and did not talk to the media, could return as soon as next Wednesday when the Raptors play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

SUITORS REMAIN HOT

Whatever the case, don't expect trade rumours to slow down. The New Orleans Hornets, who are offering injured Canadian centre Jamaal Magloire among others, and the New York Knicks, who reportedly are dangling Allan Houston as the marquee player in a package, appear to be two of the hottest suitors for Carter and perhaps big-money man Jalen Rose, if the Raptors have their way.

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock refused to shed light on how Carter's injury will affect trade discussions.

"All I'm concerned about is the health of our players," Babcock said. "I have no comment on trade talks."

Houston, expected to return from a left knee injury this weekend, shrugged off the rumours when New York reporters questioned him on Wednesday.

"I've been hearing rumours my whole career," Houston said. "This is no different."

Raptors fans with tickets for this weekend's games certainly should not toss them in the garbage. Heck, it might be a better show without Carter.

Don't forget, the Raptors won a couple of games this year with Carter on the bench in the fourth quarter. And then there was the Raptors' memorable run without Carter in 2001-02 when the team won 12 of its final 14 games to make the playoffs.

"We played without Vince last year, we played without Jalen (Rose), we know how to play," Raptors forward Donyell Marshall said. "Even if you look at a couple of wins we've had (this season), we played without Vince down the stretch. Just because he got hurt, it doesn't mean anything. People get hurt in this league every day."

Meanwhile, point guard Milt Palacio was excused from practice yesterday for personal reasons and the Raptors were not certain he would return for the game tonight.


Videos

Photos