From short-handed with guys playing out of position and out of character minutes, to a plethora of bodies.
That’s the potential situation the Raptors find themselves heading into Sunday’s penultimate pre-all-star break game with the Sacramento Kings. And while Jay Triano would much prefer the latter, it does come with some problems.
If all goes well between now and Sunday, Triano could be looking at getting three of his injured players — Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan — back for Sunday’s game.
Keeping everyone happy with more bodies and the same number of minutes to distribute falls to Triano.
“That’s going to be the tough part, and whether guys should come in and feel like they are going to get their same complement of minutes,’ Triano said. “Obviously we have to find ways to get guys a certain number of minutes, but hopefully that’s a good challenge to have. If guys aren’t ready to play, regardless of if they’re coming back from injury or not, we’ve got other guys who can step in and hopefully they can help.”
Turkoglu missed just two games since his injury — a small fracture of the orbital bone beneath his right eye — last Sunday and was back at practice yesterday playing without the fitted but uncomfortable mask he had made in Indianapolis.
DeRozan, who missed five games with a sprained ankle, went through a full practice on Friday without a setback.
The only injured Raptor not named Reggie Evans who is expected to be a question at all for Sunday is Jose Calderon.
Calderon spent yesterday working out on the bike or the sidelines while the rest of the team went through the daily practise drills. He will give his slightly sprained ankle a test in Saturday’s practice and if all goes well will be back in the lineup having missed just one game.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Calderon said. “Hopefully, it feels all right. It’s not a big thing so it should be all right.”
For DeRozan, a return Sunday would mean a chance to go up against Tyreke Evans, the player whom all rookies are being measured against this year. DeRozan thought it’s more about getting back in the grove after a five-game absence.
“It’s just a big deal to be back out there and playing,” he said. “I just want to go into the all-star break two more games up.”
As for his readiness to return, DeRozan said that’s not even in question.
“My first dunk (on Friday), everyone started clapping, like a standing ovation,” he said. “It felt good to be back playing and practising with the team.”
DeRozan also has a dunk-in contest to think of coming up next Friday during halftime of the NBA rookie/sophomore game at all-star weekend. If he can best Eric Gordon in a two-dunk dunkoff, he’ll get a spot in the actual dunk contest.
The former USC standout said his current injury never put his participation in the contest in jeopardy.
“No not at,” he said. “There really was no question about me missing (five) games either, but I had to listen to the trainers.”
DeRozan said the light schedule leading up to the break which comes after Wednesday’s game at the ACC against Philadelphia will allow his ankle plenty of time to recover.
He already has four dunks in mind that he wants to use and two others that have been done before, but he’s not confident he can pull off just yet.