The Toronto Raptors hope Chris Bosh's health won't be a major issue in the final six weeks of the regular season.
Despite leaving the team's most recent game with a sore right knee, the All-Star forward could be ready when the Raptors visit the struggling Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.
The injury forced Bosh to leave late in the first quarter of Toronto's 122-111 home loss to Indiana on Friday night. Bosh didn't return, but an MRI revealed no structural damage, just minor swelling, leaving the 6-foot-10 forward optimistic he'll be ready when the Raptors (32-25) open a three-game road trip Sunday.
"I gave up some buckets I wouldn't usually give up. I didn't feel that I would be effective out there," said Bosh, the team leader with 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. "I think I know my body now. I've had things similar to this. I know if I take care of it, I'll be fine."
Bosh, who dealt with a sore left knee throughout the preseason, tweaked his right knee in Monday's win at Indiana and also felt some soreness after a victory Wednesday over Minnesota. Toronto's 98-79 home win over Charlotte on Dec. 3 was one of five games Bosh missed due to a groin injury.
He has averaged 23.2 points and 9.4 rebounds in nine career games versus the Bobcats, though his value certainly goes beyond one game. Toronto, which had its three-game winning streak snapped Friday, is fourth in the Eastern Conference and hoping to earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Bosh averaged 26.5 points in the six games prior to getting hurt on Friday.
"Hopefully, it's not serious because we definitely need him, his inside presence," Toronto guard T.J. Ford said. "He's an All-Star, so we definitely need him, especially right now."
On Friday, Bosh had seven points when he left the game. Andrea Bargnani scored 27 points and Anthony Parker added 25 for the Raptors, who trailed by 11 in the first quarter and were forced to play catch-up.
Though Toronto scored more than 100 points for the fourth straight game and 13th time in 16 contests, the game also marked by far the most points it has allowed to an Eastern opponent all season.
As the Raptors look to bounce back, they'll try for a fifth consecutive win over Charlotte (19-39) while looking to improve to 5-1 all-time against the Bobcats on the road.
With Bosh, Bargnani and Ford all sitting out the Dec. 3 meeting, the Raptors got 17 points each from reserves Carlos Delfino and Kris Humphries while shooting 50.7 percent and holding Charlotte to 33.3 percent.
The Bobcats lost 108-100 at Boston on Friday for its fifth consecutive loss and 12th in 13 games. Jason Richardson had 30 points while Raymond Felton added 22 and 10 assists for Charlotte.
"This season is still not over," said Felton, who was held scoreless in 20 minutes against Toronto in the teams' first meeting. "It's just the kind of team we are. We're still playing to win."
The Bobcats will again be without leading scorer Gerald Wallace as he continues to recover from a concussion suffered on Feb. 22.
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