Raps' Sow ready to go

Pape Sow and Rafael Araujo of the Toronto Raptors work out together Thursday. (Toronto Sun/Stan...

Pape Sow and Rafael Araujo of the Toronto Raptors work out together Thursday. (Toronto Sun/Stan Behal)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Raptors forward Pape Sow is ready to make like the cavalry and ride in to save the day.

The problem is, there aren't many horses that can carry somebody who is 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds.

Sow, who missed the most of the pre-season because of a groin injury, announced yesterday that he is healthy and has practised with the team all week.

He wants to play and the club's general manager, Rob Babcock, would like him to play.

The only problem is, head coach Sam Mitchell has not said whether he is prepared to give any minutes to the second-year NBAer, whom the Raptors value as a future frontcourt standout with his rebounding ability, toughness and athleticism.

"It's good to see him healthy because the things that Pape does are the things that we can definitely use -- defensive intensity, rebounding, aggressive physical play," Babcock said yesterday after the club's practice. "I'm sure he's anxious to get out there too.

"(But) that's the coach's decision," Babcock added. "That's something Sam will have to determine."

Rebounding and defence are the two areas in which the 0-4 Raptors need the most help. Loren Woods and Rafael Araujo have not been the answer, and there is talk that Mitchell is leading toward starting journeyman Aaron Williams at centre this evening when the Raptors play host to the Utah Jazz.

For his part, Sow, 23, is eager to get his first taste of regular-season action. Although he played in only parts of 27 games last season, and started only four times, Sow did see more action late in the schedule and put together a few games in which he displayed solid rebounding.

"I think they need me," Sow said. "I want to play, but that's the coach's decision, but I think he's going to make the right decision for the team."

The word during training camp was that Sow and Araujo were the most likely candidates to get shipped to the Arkansas RimRockers, the club's new Development League affiliate. However, with no one on the Toronto roster doing the job on the boards, Sow might be asked to step up in that regard.

As well, the Raptors still are exploring whether they want to send anyone to Arkansas.

Unlike hockey or baseball, minor-league teams in basketball are not controlled by the parent club. Therefore, before sending anyone down, the Raptors want to make sure that they are on the same page as the RimRockers. To that extent, they have dispatched scout Mike Evans to Arkansas.


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