Barbosa to play despite wrist injury

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:04 PM ET

TORONTO - His right wrist banged up, Leandro Barbosa isn’t going to be shy when looking to get off his shot on Wednesday in the season opener.

One of the newest Raptors on this new-look team, Barbosa will be asked to provide instant offence when head coach Jay Triano turns to his bench and needs an infusion.

“I’m not 100%, but I’m going to do my best,” Barbosa said on Tuesday, Toronto’s final preparation day in anticipation of the visit by the New York Knicks on Wednesday.

“I want to be with my teammates and I will do my best.”

Barbosa may not be able to summon his best in light of his wrist, but even a less-than-healthy Barbosa still can get up and down the floor in transition and get his hands in passing lanes on defence.

What remains to be seen is how Barbosa will be able to create his own shot in the half court.

The Raptors want to play fast and there’s no quicker player than Barbosa.

The Raptors want to apply a lot of ball pressure and no one moves his feet quicker than Barbosa.

Barbosa and Linas Kleiza are two of the newest players who will be asked to have the biggest impacts on games.

Barbosa’s final year in Phoenix was marred by injury and now he is set to make his debut in Toronto under the same injury cloud.

Barbosa, whose strong hand is his right, hurt his wrist last Friday in the Raptors’ exhibition finale against the Knicks in Montreal.

The game Wednesday marks his regular-season debut as a Raptor.

In Phoenix, his game was able to flourish under Mike D’Antoni.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Barbosa said of D’Antoni, whose Knicks lured Amar’e Stoudemire to the Big Apple from Phoenix this off-season in free agency. “He taught me a lot and he was the one who showed confidence in me.”

Playing under D’Antoni and in the same backcourt as Steve Nash, Barbosa took his game to a new level, culminating with a Sixth Man Award.

“He (D’Antoni) put me at the two (shooting guard),” Barbosa added. “He gave me the opportunity to run up and down the court. I was able to play as fast as I could and I felt very confident in that situation.”

There is no Nash in Toronto, but Barbosa has the green light to ignite a one-man fast break, even if his wrist isn’t completely 100%.


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