Injuries worries Triano

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

The Raptors were preaching the old 'all for one, and one for all' spiel after practice Monday.

The problem was, one by one, guys left practice early, and that might not bode well for Tuesday's game at the Air Canada Centre against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, holders of the worst record in the NBA's Western Conference (3-17). Well, at least two key players -- Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani -- left practice early.

According to head coach Jay Triano, Bosh was ordered back to bed because of a head cold while Bargnani has “ankle issues.”

Both are game time decisions for Tuesday.

Triano is clearly hoping that his club’s starting power forward and centre are well enough to dress Tuesday because the once-foundering Raptors have won two games in a row and the coach is adamant that will continue against the Timberwolves, who are actually riding a one-game win streak.

“Every guy on that team gets a paycheque and everybody is going to come to play (Tuesday) and they’re going to be motivated to play and we better be the exactly the same,” said Triano. “That’s why you get upsets in the NBA — teams look past games, and we can’t afford to do that. Definitely not with our record.”

The 9-13 Raptors fired off two straight wins in Washington and Chicago after hitting rock-bottom last Wednesday in Atlanta, when they dropped a 146-115 decision to the Hawks.

Afterwards, a closed-door meeting was held for the players to air their grievances. The bull session appeared to work, particularly against the Bulls, as the Raptors went on to crush their Windy City counterparts 110-78 on Saturday after beating Washington 109-107 on Friday.

“It was just communication between some guys that don’t really get to play a lot, a chance for them to say what they felt, and because of that, everybody understands each other a little bit better,” Triano said of the meeting. “It was (also) guys trying to understand guys as people, as well as basketball players. We knew when we brought nine new guys in (this season), it was going to be tough to get to know each other.

"But I wouldn’t say we’ve solved everything. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Triano said the coaching staff is also still getting to know the players.

“Even with my own children, sometimes you have to deal with them in different ways and I think that’s part of what we’re figuring out right now,” he said. “You learn. If I give somebody (crap) one day and they don’t respond for the next month, I’ve learned a lesson.”

There were reports that the team had split into two factions, the North Americans and the Europeans. But Spanish point guard Jose Calderon doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t know where that come from,” he said. “It’s nothing at all. It’s normal, like when Garbo (Jorge Garbajosa) was here, I talked to him a lot because he spoke Spanish. So it was a little easier. But that’s all. I don’t know why everybody is making such a big thing (out of it).”

The Raptors have had reputation as being a soft team, which reportedly came up in the meeting.

But now, said guard Jarrett Jack, there’s an understanding that everyone has each other’s back.


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