Rose soldiers on

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

The battle for that first win isn't the only war being waged in the Raptors locker room these days.

Jalen Rose, the underachieving veteran on this rookie-laden team is fighting his own battle to keep from saying anything that will make the miserable start to the 2005 season even worse.

Rose slipped up a little in that regard following a 121-155 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, where he played only 7 minutes. He told reporters afterward that he would have loved to have had more of an opportunity to contribute.

But yesterday at practice Rose was back to his guarded self, refusing to bemoan his lack of playing time.

"I've just been doing a lot of praying," Rose said yesterday of dealing with the losing streak and his increasingly limited role. "A lot of praying and a lot of shutting up."

Rose went scoreless in the game for the first time in 551 contests, but he vowed to soldier on.

"Any time you don't score there are a lot of factors like you only take one shot and only play seven minutes," he said. "I do plan on playing seven more years, so hopefully I can start a new streak and get another one going."

As for his relationship with head coach Sam Mitchell, Rose said there is nothing to talk about on that front.

He did not talk with Mitchell after the Wednesday loss nor does he feel there is a need for such a conversation.

"It's not really about a meeting or a talk or anything," Rose said. "Sam and I don't have any problems individually -- I hope -- and I think we don't. I do everything he asks of me. It's not about insubordination. It's about wins and we're not getting it done."

But make no mistake, not even Rose could dispute the fact that he was benched. He was taken out early in the first quarter after two quick fouls and didn't return again until the second half when two more quick fouls had him back on the sidelines for the duration of the game.

"I don't think it was necessarily just the fouls," he said of his extended stay on the bench. "I didn't play the second quarter the game before either. I'm just doing what I'm asked to do."

Rose is very much aware that he could be headed back to a sixth-man role, a role he had forced on him last season and one in which he flourished before reclaiming his spot in the starter's rotation.


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