MIAMI -- His return to active duty didn't even require a conversation with his head coach.
Jose Calderon, out of action for two games with a strained right hamstring, walked off the floor at American Airlines Arena following some pre-game drills and into the Raptors locker room. Not even breaking stride, he walked past the coach's office where Sam Mitchell was awaiting word. Calderon flashed his coach the thumbs up and a sense of normalcy returned to the Raptors.
Almost immediately, last night's game against a very good at-home Miami Heat squad went from long shot to decent shot. That is the impact Calderon has on the Raptors fortunes.
"It was better than yesterday, so I think I can be there for my teammates," Calderon said after a quick word with Raptors trainer Scott McCullough.
Before the game, Calderon wasn't sure how much he would be able to play: "That's what we don't know. It depends how it feels once I start playing"
Calderon looked comfortable in the first half, splitting time with Will Solomon.
In 31 minutes, Calderon finished with eight points and seven assists in an 101-95 win.
During play last night, Calderon didn't rush things. He only took one shot in the first half. His presence, however, seemed to settle down his teammates.
The rash of turnovers from the Orlando game the night before were a thing of the past. The three-point game, a staple in the Raptors offence, was producing again a night after they went 44 minutes before knocking one down from behind the arc.
While the rest of his teammates took it easy at their Miami hotel yesterday morning -- teams don't normally shootaround the morning of the second game of a back-to-back -- Calderon and a few members of the staff made their way to the arena to give the hamstring one more test.
As happy as he was with being able to get back in the lineup, Calderon cautioned there still is some discomfort in that right leg but it's no longer where he can't play on it.
"It's going to be a while before I am 100%, but I think it's pretty good to go," he said.