Bosh played with bad heel

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell holds the Labatt Woodbine Oaks trophy prior to the horse race Sunday....

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell holds the Labatt Woodbine Oaks trophy prior to the horse race Sunday. (Michael Burns photo)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

Chris Bosh can gamble all he wants in Las Vegas this summer, as long as he doesn't take bets with his health.

That was the message from Raptors coach Sam Mitchell yesterday. Mitchell said he does not want his all-star forward playing for Team USA at the FIBA Americas championships in Vegas this August if his left heel is sore, even if Bosh already has committed to the national team.

HONOUR

"Look, I would never tell a guy not to play for his country, that's a huge honour," said Mitchell, who acted as draw master yesterday for the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks on Sunday. "But you also have to be smart about it."

The Raptors were not impressed last fall when Bosh showed up at training camp with a case of plantar fasciitis in his left heel after playing for the American team at the world championship in Japan. They were even less thrilled that the problem plagued him for most of the season.

What they don't want is a similar scenario at camp this fall and unless Bosh can prove his heel is 100%, the Raptors will discourage him from playing at the FIBA event -- despite the fact that it is the first qualifying tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Bosh, his agent Henry Thomas and Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo will make the final decision as to whether Bosh plays for Team USA in Vegas, but, Mitchell said, the bottom line is that Bosh "has to do the right thing" and be "up front and totally honest" with the Raptors about his injury.

"The last time I checked, we're paying the salaries," said Mitchell, adding that the plantar fasciitis limited Bosh's practice time last season.

"He has to be healthy enough to get on the floor to improve his game. As good as he was, we think he can be better.

"Chris is a huge part of what we're trying to do and we need him healthy.

"And it's important that he gets the chance to keep improving. Chris is only 23 years old. He is not where he needs to be yet, and you're only going to get there through repetition of practice and playing."

Mitchell, who attended last week's pre-draft camp in Orlando, added the Raptors may attempt to acquire a second-round pick for this summer's NBA draft. As is stands, the Raptors do not have a pick in the draft.

LOVE

Bill Sorokolit Sr., owner of 15-1 long shot Palace Pier, was feeling the love toward the Raptors coach yesterday, after Mitchell drew his horse for the No. 1 hole for the Woodbine Oaks, an 11-horse field featuring Canada's finest three-year-old fillies. Sealy Hill, an early 7-2 favourite owned by Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, drew the six spot while another Melnyk entry, 8-1 Belleplaine, will go from the five gate.

The early favourite at 7-2, Street Sounds, a Hidden Creek Farm entry, drew the third gate.


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