Bosh easing his way back

Chris Bosh, who has played in only three of the Raptors' seven pre-season games because of a sore...

Chris Bosh, who has played in only three of the Raptors' seven pre-season games because of a sore heel, expects to be back in the lineup for tonight's game against the Bulls in Chicago. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

BOSTON -- Chris Bosh plans to make up for lost time this week.

The Raptors star, who has missed four of seven pre-season games with a sore left heel (plantar fasciitis), will make his return to the lineup tonight for the exhibition finale against the Bulls in Chicago. With a win, the Raptors would finish the pre-season with a perfect 8-0 record.

After the final friendly, the real work begins at practice and in the gym as Bosh tries to get himself close to 100% for the season opener on Wednesday in New Jersey against the Nets.

While coach Sam Mitchell said Bosh may have some issues with his conditioning during the early part of the season, the all-star forward feels he will be ready for the grind.

"I'm going to work like hell the next four days," Bosh said. "Next week, I've got to work really, really hard so I can hit the ground running. I'm not going to be in shape like my teammates, but I will be close."

If Bosh is not quite where he wants to be come opening night, Mitchell has a plan to ease the Texan's workload just a bit.

"Instead of him going eight or nine minutes straight, we can cut it to like six, bring him out, give him a two or three-minute blow and bring him back," Mitchell said. "We can work around that."

The pressing concern for Bosh tonight is to get accustomed to playing with a starting lineup featuring T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Anthony Parker and Morris Peterson. That fivesome hasn't had much time together and Bosh is looking forward to a good trial run tonight.

"I think every team plays the last pre-season game like a real game to kind of get the juices flowing a little bit and get some momentum in the next week," Bosh said. "That is what I want to do. I want to play a few minutes, play good defence move the ball on offence, just try to be part of the team."

The Raptors' second team has outplayed the starting unit for most of the pre-season, but that really is a moot point with Bosh being in and out of the lineup.

"Guys like Parker and Peterson, who have struggled with their shots at times, will get better looks as Bosh draws defenders to him," Mitchell said. "You put Chris in the first unit, he can score 15 in the first quarter by himself if he's got it going that night. It changes their identity."


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