Spanish contingent ailing

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

They've been dropping like, well, Spanish flies.

The Raptors were without both point guard Jose Calderon and forward Jorge Garbajosa, teammates on Spain's national team, for Wednesday's game in Los Angeles, a 98-96 victory over the Clippers courtesy of a T.J. Ford buzzer-beater.

The good news for Toronto -- Calderon, who suffered a back injury last Sunday after falling in the Golden State game -- has joined the team on the west coast and is expected to play tonight in Portland, against the TrailBlazers.

Garbajosa, who injured his right calf in a Tuesday night game in Phoenix, could not play against the Clippers, but he too is expected to play in Portland. Which is music to head coach Sam Mitchell's ears as the Raptors are still without star forward Chris Bosh, who has a bruised left knee.

One thing for certain though, no matter how depleted his team is, Mitchell will not ask any of his players to "suck it up" if they aren't 100%. He will always leave the final decision to trainer Scott McCollough.

"I don't want to put that kind of pressure on them," Mitchell said. "If a guy tells me he can't go, I'll take his word for it, because I don't want one of those situations where you coax a guy into playing and then he does some serious damage to himself.

"I don't even ask the player (how he is)," Mitchell continued. "I ask Scott. If the player tells the trainer he can't go, that's good enough for me."

The bottom line, Mitchell said, is players hate missing games more than anything and that's why he has to put somebody between himself and the players in that situation.

"Hey, if you're going to practice, go through the travel, the tough part of it, the fun part is playing the games. They want to play," he said.

KEEPING UP WITH JONES

No one was happier for Fred Jones for his season-best 23-point night against the Clippers than, well, Fred Jones.

"Ya'll know my struggles this year, there's been plenty of them, but hopefully that's all the in the past," he said. "I'm going to keep working as hard as I can and try to keep this aggressive mindset."

AROUND THE RIM

Candace Parker, the sister of Raptors guard Anthony Parker and only the fifth woman ever to dunk in a college game, did it again on Wednesday against West Virginia.


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