Jumpin' for joyful news

Chris Bosh says that

Chris Bosh says that "there will be no setbacks" after being out since Dec. 10 with a sore left knee. (Toronto Sun File Photo)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell spent New Year's Eve at his church in Atlanta, so he certainly wasn't hung over yesterday.

Still, he had a glassy look in his eye.

Turns out, the coach was on Cloud 9 from being able to put his NBA all-star, Chris Bosh, through a full practice yesterday, for the first time in weeks.

"I don't want to be too giddy, but he looked good," Mitchell said of Bosh's workout.

Even better for Mitchell and the Raptors, barring a last-minute setback to his sore right knee, Bosh will be in the lineup tomorrow night when the Raptors play host to Canadian star Steve Nash and the high-scoring Phoenix Suns at the Air Canada Centre.

Bosh was put on the inactive list with a sore left knee on Dec. 10 and has missed 12 straight games. And while the Raptors played well without him, back-to-back losses late last week to Chicago and Memphis clearly show that they aren't ready to challenge for the Atlantic Division lead without him.

When told of Mitchell's excitement, Bosh announced that "there will be no setbacks" and that he can't wait to play.

"It was tiring," he said of his first full practice in weeks. "But it was so good to get out there. I've been waiting for so long. The energy was good, I rebounded the ball well, it was like I didn't miss a beat."

The news on the other injured starters wasn't quite as good. Point guard T.J. Ford, who has been carrying the Raptors on his shoulders with Bosh out, sprained his right ankle against the Chicago Bulls last Friday and missed the Memphis Grizzlies game the next night. He is listed as day to day, but is hoping to play against the Suns.

"A couple of more days of practice, some rest and treatment and we'll see how it feels (tomorrow)," said Ford, adding that he was hoping to play against the lowly Grizzlies on Saturday (a 110-104 loss). "I tried to be a warrior and see if I could fight it out, but there was no way I could play and help the team."

Starting forward Jorge Garbajosa left the Memphis game early after aggravating his already tender right calf and is doubtful for the Suns game. He had trouble even walking yesterday.

Mitchell said he can only dream of having all of his starters back healthy. Literally.

"I have dreams of that," he said, adding that Garbajosa is probably the biggest longshot to return tomorrow. "I'm going to say for me, to make me sleep better, it's a 50-50 chance with him and T.J. I'm just hoping and praying they're quick healers. I should have brought some of that Georgia red clay back with me to rub (on their injuries)."

Despite the fact that the 13-18 Raptors have lost two straight, there is a sense that the tide is turning for the team, given the fact that their schedule the rest of the way is much more favourable as compared to the first 21/2 months of the season.

"We had to tread water for the first two months, but now we have a lot more home games, (we are) pretty much almost done with the Western Conference teams," Bosh said.


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