Andrea Bargnani was shut down for the remainder of the season by the Raptors on Friday and according to head coach Dwane Casey, the move simply makes sense when you consider the potential risks with putting him back on court.
“[It's] logical yes, for us as an organization because the injury is still there and the risk versus reward of him continuing to play and injuring it again, possibly tearing it,” Casey said prior to Friday’s game against the Celtics.
Bargnani, who finishes his season with averages of 19.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 31 games (less than half of this condensed NBA season), was pulled from last Sunday’s game in OKC before halftime due to tightness in the same calf where a strain sidelined him for two other lengthy stints this year.
He missed two games after that and based on the results of diagnostic testing form earlier in the week and what was described as “reoccurrence of previous symptoms,” the team elected to keep him off the court for the team’s remaining games this season.
It’s an abrupt end to a season that saw Bargnani play outstanding on both ends of the floor early and was prompting discussion of a potential All-Star nod before he suffered the first calf strain with 3:13 left in the third quarter against the Kings on January 11th.
He was unquestionably at his best during the 11-game stretch before the injury and equally impressive during a brief two-game return after a six-game absence. But after coming back from his second aggravation of the injury, Bargnani struggled to regain his early-season form.
“He started getting his stride again a little bit offensively,” said Casey. “Defensively, he wasn’t the same guy. Just as soon as he started to turn the corner both ways with his timing and everything, that’s when he re-injured it again so it’s been an up-and-down roller coaster for him this year.”
So the player that GM Bryan Colangelo called “the enigma of all enigmas” at the end of last season, continues to keep fans guessing about where his game might peak over the course of a full season. But this season he showed he’s clearly capable of another level and particularly at the defensive end.
“As my grandfather said, ‘he told on himself,’” Casey said on Friday. “I know now he can do it.”