Araujo can't play

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Instead of capping his summer by playing at a high-level international basketball tournament, Raptors centre Rafael Araujo will be putting drops in his eyes.

The oft-criticized first-round pick from 2004 came down with a case of conjunctivitis (pink eye) last week, which will prevent him from playing for Brazil in the FIBA Americas world championship qualifying tournament in the Dominican Republic this week.

"It's not a threatening thing or anything, but it's very contagious in a contact sport and if you get your eye scratched, it can become serious," said Raptors general manager Rob Babcock, who cancelled his trip to the Dominican Republic after learning of Araujo's condition.

"It's too bad, but the good thing is he has gone through the biggest part of the summer (with Brazil). It would have been great for him to get some extra game experience, but he finished off very strong in the last exhibition game and got a double-double against the U.S. ... He had a solid month practising every day against good players and he got some good things out of it. There's nothing we can do about it."

In a press release announcing Araujo's absence, Brazilian coach Aluisio Ferreira said, "(Araujo) is still suffering problems in his left eye and cannot play for two weeks."

Because he was with the Brazilian team, Araujo did not join the Raptors for summer league play last month. Araujo remains in Brazil and told one of his agents, Jim McDowell, Monday he is feeling "significantly better."


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