|Weekend At Erie's...|
Nov. 30, 2010, 5:00 PM
Tuesday's practice saw the highly-anticipated return of forward Ed Davis, who's been medically cleared to play after offseason knee surgery and is primed to make his debut Wednesday at ACC against the Wizards.
Not a moment too soon for the rook, who spent a weekend working in Fort Wayne, Indiana for a pair of games with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League. So what did the 13th overall selection take from the experience against the Mad Ants?
"It's a struggle down there man," admitted Davis. "It's rough. We had a five, six-hour bus ride to Fort Wayne. It's a struggle. You get the mindset you just want to work hard and just never be down there."
All things considered, a weekend in the Hoosier State should have been cake compared to what Davis has endured the last couple of seasons.
Coming off a National Championship with UNC as a freshman in 2009, Davis moved into a more prominent role the following season only to see it cut short by breaking the lunate bone in his left wrist in mid-February.
Fast forward to that summer's 2010 NBA Draft, where most mock drafts had Davis pegged as a lock for the top ten, but a surprising slide -- possibly due to the injury -- made for an easy pick by the Raptors at 13. His first game action after the wrist injury came in the Las Vegas Summer League, where Davis showed strong defensive instincts and an efficient, crafty offensive game that was a big factor in the Raptors’ 5-0 record.
But from another peak came a valley as a freak knee injury in a local pickup game at summer's end required the meniscus surgery that's brought him to this latest starting point.
A light brace serves as a reminder of the injury and Davis will wear it until he receives medical clearance, but it won't hamper him from soaking up some serious minutes in Raptors lineup that's thin up front.
The team’s top rebounder, Reggie Evans, is sidelined for the foreseeable future with a foot fracture and Peja Stojakovic -- who was hinted at as a possible replacement after Friday’s loss in Boston -- missed Sunday's game with a swollen knee. That prompted a surprising start and 20 minutes from Joey Dorsey against the Hawks, with Amir Johnson still coming off the bench.
Davis will not get that starting spot for his regular season pro debut on Wednesday, but Triano said he has zero expectations from the forward in terms of minutes.
"I think part of the rehab and part of him being sent down to the D-League is to get minutes and we'll play him as long as he can stay out there."
Encouraging words for Davis, who brings a new defensive wrinkle to the Raptors in terms of his abilities as a rebounder and a left-handed shot-blocker.
We've got tons more on Davis below, including a great assessment of what he brings to the table from Raptors Director Of Player Development Alvin Williams, a look back his work in Las Vegas, plus a preview of the NBA TV Canada special Two Rookies: D-Life.
Nov. 29, 2010, 8:00 PM