'Zo won't be rushed

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

A big downside in the Vince Carter trade for the Raptors was having to put young players Rafael Araujo and Pape Sow on the injured list to make room for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams and Alonzo Mourning. Worse still, Mourning has not reported to Toronto and remains in Florida healing various injuries and contemplating his future in the NBA, all the while taking up a spot on the Raptors roster, although Araujo is eligible to come off the injured list today and may be put on the active roster in place of Mourning.

Toronto general manager Rob Babcock said that he will not talk to Mourning for at least another week, giving the 13-year NBA veteran time to get better. Mourning is suffering from a variety of aches and pains to his knees, legs, hips and hand.

Head coach Sam Mitchell can only wait to see what plays out.

"It would be nice (to have an open spot), because our young guys work hard and I like to give them minutes and a chance to play," he said. "But it is what it is. Nothing I can do about it."

Mitchell said yesterday that he only wants Mourning in a Raptors uniform if the former Georgetown star really wants to be in Toronto.

BACK TO WORK

After a two-day break, the Raptors flew into Phoenix from various home destinations across North America on Christmas Day and headed off to the America West Arena for a long evening practice.

"It was a good practice, our guys worked hard," Mitchell said. "Most everybody worked, except for a select group.

"The people at the hotel worked, the bus driver, the airline people worked.

"I walked by the bar and saw some people in the bar ... working," he said, with a laugh, nodding towards a couple of journalists.

DONYELL IN DEMAND?

The New Jersey Nets are said to be interested in trading for Toronto power forward Donyell Marshall, who is a free agent at the end of the this season ... Former Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens is in danger of losing his job as the Knicks' head coach.


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