Mitchell won't go easy on 'em

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

The Raptors are starting to drop like flies, but coach Sam Mitchell isn't about to hold anybody's hand and spoon-feed them chicken soup.

Mitchell has worked his players hard for 14 consecutive days since training camp opened on Oct.4. And while the injuries and bugs are starting to add up, he isn't about to lighten up now.

Especially with the team 0-3 in pre-season action.

"Why should we have a day off? So you can have a day off?" Mitchell jokingly chided a Raptors beat writer.

"We're two weeks into training camp and we have another two weeks before opening night (Nov. 2 against Washington) and we've just got to continue to work and get better."

Star forward Chris Bosh was the latest Raptor to hit the injury skids yesterday, departing practice after 45 minutes because of flu-like symptoms. Bosh joined rookie Joey Graham (left knee tendinitis), Pape Sow (strained groin), Aaron Williams (sprained left ankle) and Eric Williams (sore right knee) on the not-ready-for-prime-time list.

The good news is that guard Alvin Williams, who missed all of last season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee, may be ready to play in the Raptors' next pre-season game, tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre against the New Jersey Nets.

But while Mitchell's players may be getting just a little worn down, nobody is complaining.

"I love it," veteran guard/forward Jalen Rose said. "When you have a young team, guys need to get in here and work everyday."

Mitchell played down the notion yesterday that his club is reeling after losing to a non-NBA team (Maccabi Tel Aviv) on Sunday.

"The last two games, we've put two teams (Maccabi and Boston) on the free throw line 102 times. It's tough to win those games," he said.

"And we still would have won if we made our free throws. That's a lot of positive things to look at."

STARTER SWITCH POSSIBLE

The coach is thinking about experimenting with his starting lineup for tomorrow's game, perhaps starting rookie point guard Jose Calderon, along with rookie forward Charlie Villanueva and sophomore forward Matt Bonner.


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