Charlie V fights illness

Toronto Raptors' Charlie Villanueva. (SUN/David Lucas)

Toronto Raptors' Charlie Villanueva. (SUN/David Lucas)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Charlie Villanueva will be searching for answers, not chocolate eggs, this Easter Weekend.

The Raptors rookie has been hit hard by a mystery illness that knocked him out games against the Phoenix Suns on March 31 and the Hornets in Oklahoma City on April 7.

The same symptoms - stomach pain, nausea, dizziness - overcame Villanueva again on Friday night in the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons, but the NBA's premier rookie - after the Hornets' Chris Paul - managed to fight through it and record nine points, three steals and four rebounds in the second half as the Raptors snapped a 10-game losing streak by posting a shocking 108-103 victory.

Still, Villanueva planned on visiting a doctor yesterday in attempt to get a handle on why he keeps getting ill during games.

"I just assumed it was the flu and I would get over it, but it still hasn't gone," a frustrated Villanueva said yesterday, following the team's workout at the Air Canada Centre practice court.

Villanueva added that he is not able to eat very much and feels weaker than before. He earned kudos, however, from head coach Sam Mitchell on Friday night for sucking it up and staying in the game.

"That's one thing I tried to do," Villanueva said. "The last couple of times I left the game and went back to the locker room. Friday I felt like I should go back (to the locker room), but I wanted to stick it out and fight through it, and that's exactly what I did. It's when I do a lot of running it bothers me."

The Raptors only have two games remaining in the regular season -- tomorrow night against the visiting Indiana Pacers and the closing game of the year in Chicago on Wednesday night.

Both of those clubs are fighting for a playoff position, and with the Raptors already short-handed, Mitchell will need Villanueva to eat up minutes.

Chris Bosh is out for the season with a sprained left thumb, Matt Bonner is gone for the year because of a sprained left ankle, Antonio Davis was waived after suffering a back injury, Alvin Williams will not return and Eric Williams has yet to rejoin the team after returning home for personal reasons. On top of that, Jose Calderon's chronically sore feet can act up at a moment's notice.

That leaves Mitchell with a depleted lineup with Mike James and Morris Peterson the only real veteran leadership on the roster.


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