Jose OK with big minutes

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

The notion that Jose Calderon is becoming worn out, with his point guard partner T.J. Ford out with his arm/neck injuries, was put to rest in Toronto's 123-115 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday.

Calderon played perhaps his best game of the season, picking up 16 assists, tying a career high, along with 15 points and seven rebounds. He also picked up a small mouse under his left eye after taking an errant hand to the face early in the game. He has averaged almost 37 minutes in his last five games. Last season, as Ford's backup, the native of Villanueva de la Serena, Spain averaged 20.9. But head coach Sam Mitchell has no choice but to play Calderon a lot. And until Ford returns, that will continue. Mitchell, however, is starting to chafe at the increased questions surrounding Calderon's increased workload

"We don't talk about it," Mitchell said. "He's got to play, that's his job. What am I supposed to say to him? 'Are you okaaaay? Is it all right that you're playing 35 minutes a game?'

"Can Deron Williams sustain (a lot of minutes)? Can Chris Paul? All the other (starting) point guards? Jose's like anybody. As long as he don't get injured, he's fine. It don't matter how you feel, you have to play."

Calderon, who leads the NBA with a 5.92 assist-to-turnover ratio, said that he is ready for the challenge.

"There's not too many (other) options," he said. "I'm always ready. You can be tired, but you have to concentrate, and in my position you have to try to get everybody involved and try to make the plays and run the team.


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