Jay Triano isn't a doctor, but after meeting with the media in the wake of the news that his all-star forward Chris Bosh underwent surgery to repair a displaced nose fracture, he was asked for a prognosis.
"Do you think you'll coach Chris again?"
Triano didn't hesitate: "For sure."
The best chance for that is if the Raptors hang on to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
That got just a little bit harder after the Raptors (38-40) lost their third straight game, 115-104 to the Boston Celtics (49-29) in front of 18,793 fans at the Air Canada Centre last night.
With four games left in the regular season, the Raptors are a half-game ahead of the Chicago Bulls and can be sure only that they'll be playing the rest of the regular season without Bosh, who remained in a Cleveland hospital again overnight, the sting of defeat likely eased by pain medication following an operation to reset his nose.
He's not expected back on the court before the Raptors finish their regular-season schedule on April 14.
"No one has a crystal ball, but as you look at the time frames as the calendar barrels down upon us, we're looking at those types of time frames over the next seven to 10 days," said Raptors medical director Dr. Paul Marks, when asked if Bosh's regular season was over.
So when will Triano get to coach the Raptors' all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker again? Since Bosh is a free agent this summer, he'd better hope the Raptors will be able to extend their season into late April, even if it means facing the powerful Cavaliers in the playoffs.
Last night the Raptors gave a decent accounting of themselves, although they fell short against a Celtics team that came into the game having lost four of their past five games, and more or less locked into the No. 4 seed. The brave talk before the game was about how in the absence of their best players everyone would have to pitch in, and most did.
"I thought they played their asses off," Triano said afterward, his team matching the Celtics in most categories except free-throw attempts, where Boston had a 33-12 edge. "Did they play really well and make shots? No. But they really battled."
The fight came from somewhat surprising places, as second-year guard Sonny Weems helped the Raptors to a 54-52 lead at the half by scoring 17 of his career-high 21 points in the first 24 minutes, while rookie swing man DeMar DeRozan scored all 14 of his points in the second half, 12 in the fourth quarter, including a spectacular baseline dunk that pulled Toronto within six points with five minutes to play. The Celtics had four starters with between 18 and 21 points.
The Raptors' Hedo Turkoglu was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for a CT scan after being hit in the face by the Celtics' Tony Allen's head during a fight for a loose ball midway through the first quarter. There were no results available after the game, though Turkoglu returned to the ACC. Those remaining healthy will have to raise their games if they want their season to last long enough for Bosh to return.
It will be up to them to win at least two of their last four games - particularly Sunday's match against Chicago at the ACC - if they want to extend their season. And maybe then Bosh will join them.
"It's something where you have to wait for some of the swelling to come down and make sure that someone's comfortable, and that the bone has had a chance to set," Dr. Marks said.
Unfortunately, the Raptors - and Bosh - only have so much time left, Triano's optimism notwithstanding.
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