Raptors are missing a player like Calderon

Former Raptors guard Jose Calderon will host the team with the Detroit Pistons on Friday. (REUTERS)

Former Raptors guard Jose Calderon will host the team with the Detroit Pistons on Friday. (REUTERS)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:58 PM ET

Amir Johnson broke into a smile the moment Jose Calderon’s name was broached, eliciting a reaction that briefly relieved some of the discomfort in Johnson’s left knee.

Calderon had that soothing presence during his time in Raptorland, a tenure filled with playoff appearances, trades that would get nixed, three coaches and what seemed like a perpetual drama at the point position.

“A great teammate,’’ beamed Johnson of Calderon. “He definitely gave me some buckets. He was a fun guy to be around. At least for me, I thought he was funny because of his accent.

“A great guy, a motivator who was big for this team.”

Such is the Raptors way that Calderon’s presence in Toronto wasn’t truly appreciated until the Raptors parted ways with the pass-first point guard, who plays his former team Friday night for the first time.

On Monday, he’ll return to the Air Canada Centre for the first time, an occasion where fans are likely to welcome Calderon with open arms the wa


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