Sore knee turns Bosh into a spectator

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

The Maple Leafs stepped up in a big way last month when captain Mats Sundin went down with an elbow injury.

Now, head coach Sam Mitchell is hoping that his Raptors will do the same thing without their captain, Chris Bosh.

Bosh, who ranks third in the NBA with 12.2 rebounds per game, woke up on Saturday morning with a swollen left knee, and was unable to play yesterday against the visiting Portland Trail Blazers -- the first game he has missed this season. The Raptors responded by laying an egg, losing to the lowly Blazers, 93-83.

Bosh did not make the trip to Florida last night with the team for games in Miami tonight and Orlando on Wednesday, and will be treated in Toronto this week by team therapist Ray Chow.

"It's been one thing to another," said a dejected Bosh, of his latest injury woe. "Hopefully everything will heal at the same time so there won't be any conversation (about it)."

It's reached the point where Bosh begins every pre-game interview with an injury update. Since the beginning of the season, the fourth-year Raptor has had to deal with a multitude of aches and pains, including plantar fasciitis in his left heel, a sore right knee, a virus in his left eye and now pain and swelling in his left knee, the result of a deep bone bruise suffered during Friday's loss in Chicago.

Bosh left that game early after he collided with the Bulls' Ben Wallace. He returned, picking up his 15th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but the knee became a problem overnight.

With Bosh out, rookie Andrea Bargnani, who missed Friday's game with a sore lower back, was given his first NBA start yesterday and struggled, picking up eight points, four boards, two turnovers and five fouls.

The Leafs went 4-2-1 with Sundin out and have gone 0-6-1 since his return. Mitchell is hoping that Bosh isn't gone for long and that the guys respond in a big way, though that was not the case yesterday.

"Guys have to cut harder, they have to set better screens, they need to run a little bit," the coach said. "At a certain point, we have to stop relying on Chris to try to win the games down the stretch for us because teams are going double-, triple-team him. Other people have to step up and be ready to shoot the ball or drive the ball or try to make the play."

Bosh admitted that this early-season injuries have begun to take a toil on him mentally.

"I just have to continue to take care of my body and get back as soon as possible. The good thing about it, it's not very serious. It could be worse. Besides the swelling, it's not that bad."


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