Raptors back in good hands with Calderon

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

Jose Calderon isn't sure if the discomfort in his tender right hamstring will resurface.

It may happen today, next week, next month or it may not happen at all.

All Calderon knows with certainty is that he is feeling good.

And as long as he's able to play relatively pain-free, the Raptors will be in good hands.

"I don't know if the pain will come back," Calderon said yesterday, a day after his return to the roster helped the Raptors end an onerous seven-game losing streak with a 114-94 win over the Chicago Bulls.

"The bottom line is that I'm going to need rest and that's not going to happen until the summer," he said.

Calderon is so important to the Raptors that an argument can be made that he's the team's most indispensable part.

If Chris Bosh were to miss any extended stretch, one of Andrea Bargnani or Jermaine O'Neal is more than capable of stepping up.

Calderon's absence exposed the team's lack of depth at point guard, and the need for a calming presence in late-game situations.

"There's just an experience and awareness you get with Jose," interim head coach Jay Triano said.

"There were a couple of plays (in the Raptors' win on Friday) we were running before, but they just weren't working."

They did work when the ball was in Calderon's hands and the decision-making was left to him.

Getting the ball to the right guy in the right spot is the very definition of a point guard.

That's what Calderon does best and it was evident in Toronto's win over the Bulls.

Whether it was a lob pass out of a screen-and-roll or finding an open shooter on the weak side, the performance was vintage Calderon. He didn't record a turnover and made nine of 10 shots from the field.

As for the others who filled in for Calderon during his absence:

- Will Solomon is a scoring guard who was asked to run an offence in Calderon's absence until Solomon was inevitably exposed.

- Roko Ukic is young and gets caught up in his own matchup at the detriment of distributing the basketball.

- Anthony Parker has the experience and awareness to push the ball up court, but he's best suited at shooting guard.

"I'm feeling comfortable and the guys have confidence in me,'' Calderon said.

"My teammates know that I will get the ball to the right guy at the right moment."

Calderon played close to 30 minutes against the Bulls after missing 10 of his team's previous 11 games.

He didn't know how he would feel yesterday, but Calderon admitted he felt great after the Raptors gathered at their practice facility to prepare for tonight's game against the visiting Sacramento Kings.

"There's still something there in my right hamstring,'' Calderon said. "It's not like the left."


Photos