The revolving door of minor preseason injuries continues for the Raptors. In terms of good news, rookie swingman Terrence Ross was a full participant at practice on Thursday after sitting out of Wednesday’s win against the Wizards with a sore left knee.
But gain one healthy body, go down two more as Andrea Bargnani (left calf contusion) and Ed Davis (lower body soreness) were limited in what they could do on Thursday.
Bargnani took a hit from an unidentified Wizard to the same calf that sidelined him for so much of last season, but both he and head coach Dwane Casey believe that the contusion isn’t serious or at all related to last season’s strain.
“There’s no MRI or anything like that, so we’re just [being] precautionary,” said Casey, who added that he was unsure if his starting power forward would be available against the Knicks in Montreal. “He did some shooting, but he didn’t do very much else today, so we’ll go from there.”
The possible absence of Bargnani or Davis won’t help Casey as he attempts to establish some sense of continuity with his rotation and it definitely doesn’t help remedy his team’s issues with sluggish starts.
Wednesday’s win provided the latest example, as the Raptors spotted the Wizards 34 points in the first frame and Casey believes both his first and second units can share the blame defensively.
“It was well-distributed among everybody and that’s what we went over in the video session today — showing guys that our transition defence was porous. We gave up 50 points in the paint. Last year we averaged 37 or whatever it was and we can’t have that. We have to protect the paint better, we’re too spread out.”
Thursday’s lessons get put to the test in Montreal as the Raptors get their first look at a veteran Knicks squad that has to be considered the toughest competition they’ve faced yet during exhibition play. In particular, Casey is hoping rookie centre Jonas Valanciunas will be absorbing plenty on the fly.
“It’s going to be graduate school in terms of guarding pick and rolls for [Valanciunas] tomorrow night and for us as a team. They have a lot of weapons so it’s going to be a great teaching lesson for us tomorrow night guarding those guys and also for Jonas offensively going against one of the better defending centres in the league.”
See more from Bargnani and Amir Johnson below and be sure to check back for more updates from Montreal.