Heel keeping Bargnani sidelined

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Andrea Bargnani's lingering left heel woes cost him a second start last night in an otherwise relatively healthy season.

The seven-foot centre wanted to get through Sunday's final home game, knowing there was no way he could complete the back-to-back starts last night In Washington.

"It has been bothering him the past two weeks, maybe three," coach Jay Triano said. "Every day it's sore and he's not sure how long he can go. It's been a game-time decision and we know he has been playing through pain.

"I think it's just wear and tear from the season, nothing that will require servicing (in the off-season)."

Bargnani insisted he will play in tomorrow's regular season finale in Chicago if the pain is manageable. "I'm just hoping the inflammation goes down," he said.

Patrick O'Bryant made his second career start last night in Bargnani's place.

Flipped out

D.C. is abuzz with talk of Flip Saunders taking over as head coach next season. Various sources in the Washington media said the former coach of the Pistons and Timberwolves is the leading candidate of general manager Ernie Grunfeld and one paper called it a "done deal".

Saunders advanced to the NBA playoffs in all but two of 13 seasons.

Interim coach Ed Tapscott, who took over from the fired Eddie Jordan, would likely stay with the team in another capacity.

"Those decisions will be made at the appropriate time," Grunfeld told reporters.


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