Healthy Bosh great news

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

DETROIT -- Chris Bosh is only 20 years old. Disco music merely is a rumour to him. Any game that occurred before the new millennium qualifies as classic sports.

But how old did Bosh feel when he got up yesterday morning?

"A little older," the Raptors sophomore forward said with a laugh.

As least he could laugh, as opposed to screaming.

The soreness and stiffness in Bosh's back yesterday gave him a sneak preview of what it's going to be like when he turns 40. The achy omen came after he re-injured an already sore back when he fell awkwardly during the Raptors' one-point loss to the Boston Celtics at the Fleet Center on Wednesday.

Bosh took part in most of the drills with his teammates as they practised yesterday at Oakland University, north of Detroit. The Raptors will visit the Pistons at the Palace in Auburn Hills tonight, and while Bosh still is listed as day-to-day, he expects to play.

"It's sore and stiff, but there's no other major damage," Bosh said. "It's like a bruise. There was a lot of pain, but you know, that was temporary. I think it looked worse than what it really is."

And it looked pretty bad.

Bosh got his feet tangled up with Marcus Banks of the Celtics and fell in grotesque fashion. The Human Pretzel might have walked away unscathed, but Bosh -- as lanky and limber as they come -- reacted like a standard human being as he yelped in agony.

The first fear among most of those present, including Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, was that Bosh had blown out a knee. But Bosh knew it was his back right away.

"I arched my back because I landed right on that (sore) spot," said Bosh, whose back has been sore since he took a charge from Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic in a game more than a week ago. "That's why I arched my back ... I was trying to get off it."

The Raptors' training staff did a great job calming down Bosh as he lay on the court. You could see Bosh's face relax as the shock of the incident subsided and he realized he could feel all his extremities.

He walked to the locker room under his own power, and although he did not return, everyone associated with the Raptors breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Despite Bosh's spindly 6-foot-10 frame and the fact he bangs with brutish power forwards on a nightly basis, he has not yet missed a game this season.

In fact, the Raptors as a team have lost only 192 man-games to injury through 64 games. They're on pace for something in the 230 range, which would be down significantly from last season (270) and only a shadow of the total from two years ago (519).

The bottom line is, the Raptors have been remarkably injury-free, notwithstanding the knee surgery that wiped away Alvin Williams' campaign. What we're getting is a clear picture of the Raptors' strengths and weaknesses heading into an off-season during which significant changes are needed. The Raptors are 10 games below .500 and they can't call upon the excuse that they weren't at full strength, or something very close to it.

Even though Bosh's back is sore, generally he feels far better than he did at this point in his rookie season.

"At this time last year I was struggling big-time," Bosh said. "It was hard to get up for every game. But now I feel way better. I'm way stronger, I'm in physical shape, and we run up and down the court a lot more, so that probably has a lot to do with it.

"I'm sure on the scouting report they say to play physical with me. But that doesn't bother me. I'm sure they think I'll fold, but you know, I've been playing like that all my life."

Much of the Raptors' future can be summed up in two words: Chris Bosh.

He still was standing vertically yesterday, which made it a good day for the team.


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