Big men on court

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Rafael Araujo might not find himself in early foul trouble, for a change, tonight.

With the rookie centre recovering from a flu that kept him out of a game Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Loren Woods wore a black starter's jersey at practice yesterday.

While Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said he has not decided on a starting centre for a game tonight against the Chicago Bulls at the Air Canada Centre, there appears to be a chance Woods will make his second start in a row.

"We're going to see how (Araujo) feels," Mitchell said.

"He's still weak and tired (though Araujo has practised the past two days). I haven't made a decision on Hof or Loren or Aaron (Williams) or whoever at that spot."

The little-used Woods did a decent job in 20 minutes of action Sunday against Cleveland, playing solid defence against all-star centre Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Regardless of who starts, Mitchell said several big men will be employed to guard big Bulls centre Eddy Curry.

"He's a big, skilled guy," Mitchell said. "Whoever is starting doesn't matter. Everybody's going to get a chance. A couple of people will get a shot at him."

Meanwhile, Raptors forward Chris Bosh said he's feeling close to 100% after hurting his back last week. Bosh played Sunday, but wasn't his usual assertive self.

"(There has been) good progress," Bosh said. "I was able to have a little more contact (yesterday) in practice."

The Raptors embark on a five-game road swing after the game tonight, meaning an elusive win against the Baby Bulls would come in handy. The Bulls (34-31) have won their past seven games against the Raptors. That win streak started after the Bulls had lost 16 consecutive games against Toronto.

Despite the Raptors' poor recent record against the Bulls, swingman Jalen Rose feels things will change tonight.

"The Bulls have beaten us every time (since Rose arrived in Toronto last season) and that is a trend we will break (tonight) I'm sure," Rose said.

"I just feel like we're going to win (today)."

The Raptors (28-38) are four games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, held by the Philadelphia 76ers.


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