Raptors' rule of thumb

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Thumbs down.

The Raptors announced yesterday that all-star forward Chris Bosh will be out indefinitely -- which could very well mean the rest of the season -- with a sprained left thumb.

Raptors doctor Paul Marks is scheduled to re-evaluate Bosh in seven to 10 days. But with the team on track to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, there is no need to rush the third-year player back to play out the string.

"I think we need to be very delicate with the situation," Raptors general manger Bryan Colangelo said. "We have to make sure there is absolutely no risk of him returning and aggravating the injury. We will be very conservative ... It is very important we deal with this correctly."

And if doctors feel Bosh should remain off the court until next season, "so be it," Colangelo said. Even if Bosh returns after seven days, the Raptors would have just eight games left this season.

The Raptors never would admit as much, but losses at this stage of the season can only help the team in the draft lottery. And, obviously, without Bosh, the Raptors' chances of losing increase. The Raptors have the fifth-worst record in the league heading into a game tonight against the Miami Heat at the Air Canada Centre.

Bosh suffered the injury when he was accidentally kicked by teammate Pape Sow Sunday in Milwaukee. He was examined Monday by Toronto hand specialist Dr. Brent Graham.

"It's tough, but safety is the main concern," said Bosh, who has not missed a game this season. "I talked to the doctors (Monday) and they're telling me if the same thing happens again if I play, it can be very severe. I'd rather (be out) 10 days than 10 weeks."

Even if the Raptors were in playoff contention, Bosh said he would not be playing.

"If we were in the race, it's pretty much the same thing," he said. "It goes hand-in-hand. The doctors say give it 10 days because if you play now it could get worse. Regardless of the situation, I'd have to (sit out)."

Bosh said he wants to re-evaluate after 10 days to see if he could play again this season, but perhaps teammate Morris Peterson summed up the situation best.

"I'd rather have him at a time we really need him as opposed to a time right now," Peterson said. "If we were in the playoff hunt and looking for first place in the conference, we'd definitely be worried."

Coach Sam Mitchell said he has not decided on a starting lineup for tonight. One distinct possibility would have the Raptors inserting rookie Joey Graham at the small forward spot and moving Charlie Villanueva back to power forward.

"It's an opportunity for someone else to play and a chance to show they can play in the NBA," Mitchell said.


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