This being his seventh NBA season, you can excuse Chris Bosh for not getting lost in the hoopla of training camp and the exhibition season.
He has been there and seen it and is wise enough to know that what matters takes place when the lights go on Oct. 28th and the Raptors host LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There's nothing to prepare you for that.
But the four-time all-star admitted that he's looking forward to his little business trip to Minnesota Friday where the Raptors are going to play the Timberwolves as the Raptors try to win their first exhibition start after two losses.
"I don't need much time," he said after a light practice at the Air Canada Centre yesterday. "[Training camp]is part of the job, but with the time I put in this summer it won't take long [to get]ready. It's in me, I just have to play a few games and I'll be back where I want to be. I might be back now, I don't know."
He had the option of staying behind and getting more treatment, but he declined and showed up to the ACC with his bags packed ready to take the trip west.
Bosh is familiar with being restricted in training camp. Two seasons ago he was shut down for most of the month-long build-up to the regular season with a knee problem. Things were made worse because he had spent most of the summer resting his foot due to a bout of plantar fasciitis that had hindered him in 2006-07.
The inactivity showed when the regular season started as Bosh got off to the worst start of his career - he shot 41.9 per cent for the month of December, the worst single-month performance of his career - before hitting his stride in January.
This time around is different, Bosh insists. His inactivity has been largely precautionary as his hamstring - strained, not torn - has merely kept him from running at a high pace. He's been taking shots, riding the stationary bike and has been present for practices and taken part in some light drills. He doesn't anticipate the start to his season being affected this time around.
"In the other years when I missed certain stints the cases were more severe, mostly with my knee," he said. "I haven't had any problems with my knee at all, this year it's very, very mild, muscle-related and there weren't days when I was sitting down doing nothing. I was able to some kind of training and cardio. I could do pretty much everything except run."
His teammates are curious to see him on the floor. "It's going to be great, he's a franchise player," said Sonny Weems, who has made good use of the additional playing time he's received in the absence of Turkoglu and Antoine Wright (knee). "The team performs better when the best players are on the floor. Having him on the floor will boost our intensity even more."
Raptors head coach Jay Triano says Bosh will play limited minutes tonight against the Timberwolves. "He's going to be pretty restricted with what he can do out there," Triano said.
And while Turkoglu will remain back in Toronto as he continues to rest after the European Championships, which concluded Sept. 20, the Turkish small forward was on the floor for practice yesterday as well, suggesting once again that his first game action is likely a week away.
Missing his two primary offensive weapons isn't ideal as Triano tries to implement an offensive approach that will try to reduce the Raptors' traditional reliance on high screen-and-rolls for more motion and misdirection, but he's optimistic their absence won't be a setback.
"Those guys have been paying attention on the sidelines, it's not like they've been in the training room. They've been up here watching and they both have high basketball IQ," said Triano. "So it was no problem for them to step in for both the defensive and offensive shell stuff we did. They were on top of it."
For his part Bosh has been impressed with what he's seen as a practice observer.
"I like the fact that we listen. The coach gives us instructions and we don't take a week or two weeks to get it. We adapt fairly quickly," he said.
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