For a dozen games now, Jerryd Bayless has sat by and watched his team struggling to score knowing if he were only healthy he could help ease the problem.
The good news is Bayless might be able to do something about that very soon.
The backup to starting point guard Jose Calderon took part in his second consecutive full practice on Thursday and while he wonít make a call about joining the team for Fridayís game versus Portland until after the morning shootaround, he can at least now see the end of his spectator days.
Bayless has been out since Dec. 30 when he rolled his left ankle in a game in Dallas. Heís been through sprains before and come back quicker but this one has proved to be a lot less forgiving.
ďIt depends how I feel Friday,Ē Bayless said of his return. ďItís almost there but Iím kind of nervous that if I do come back too early and re-do it I would be out another three weeks or however long it has been. I just want to make sure Iím 100% or as close to it before I go out there.Ē
The bad news is the long layoff has left Bayless where a lot of his teammates looked to be off of that last loss in Boston.
ďIím all right, but Iím kind out of rhythm right now,Ē Bayless said. ďI canít really make a shot but that will come. Iím not worried about that. I just want to make sure my ankle is strong enough to go and withstand whatever the rest of the schedule brings.
ďBut itís a pretty bad sprain. Right now Iím just trying to do as much as I can to prevent it from happening again.Ē
When Bayless first went down, the backup minutes went to Anthony Carter behind Calderon. Needing more offence, head coach Dwane Casey went to Gary Forbes a shooting guard/small forward for most of his career.
Forbes though is one of the few Raptors on the roster who can create his own shot and has done a better than expected job of running the point since given the opportunity.
Casey though said the move was strictly an emergency one and once Bayless is back, Forbes will go back to his more tradition role at shooting guard and small forward. Casey said DeRozan could see some time at small forward with James Johnson moving back to power forward and Ed Davis to centre in some instances.
Just having some options to play with in his lineup would be a nice change for Casey who has been playing short-handed for much of the first three and a half weeks of the schedule.