Seeing three playoff teams each lose star players due to freak accidents would put any coach on edge, especially Doc Rivers, who’s spent the entire season trying to avoid anything catastrophic like the knee injury that ended Kevin Garnett’s season a year ago.
The Milwaukee Bucks took a blow to their potential playoff run when Andrew Bogut dislocated his arm, sprained his wrist, and broke his right hand in a nasty fall against the Suns. The Hawks are uncertain about their leading scorer, Joe Johnson, who sprained his thumb and is listed as day to day. Toronto just watched a stray elbow down its most important piece, Chris Bosh, as the Raptors try to fight off the Chicago Bulls for the last playoff spot in the East.
Rivers has to get the Big Three accustomed to playing playoff minutes, but there’s always the potential for the unexpected. No starter played more than Rajon Rondo’s 34 minutes against the Knicks, and Rivers repeatedly has said that health is more important than anything else, but it’s a difficult balance.
“You’ve got to play the guys,” Rivers said. “We need to play too because I think we need more conditioning in some ways and we use the games as that. You’ve just got to play and if it happens it happens. Seeing those injuries don’t make you comfortable during any game.”
The Raptors aren’t expecting Bosh to play tonight with the Celtics in town, and he could miss the rest of the season. From Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star:
There was a phone glued to Bosh’s ear and a piece of gauze protruding from Bosh’s right nostril, just some of the fallout from an inadvertent elbow he’d received from Cavaliers forward Antawn Jamison about two minutes into Toronto’s 113-101 loss. The blow sent a bloodied Bosh reeling on the hardwood and, soon after, to the hospital for a CAT scan that would reveal fractures on the right side of his nose and face.
And though it was difficult to say with any certainty the severity of Bosh’s injury or how long he will be sidelined, his teammates were left to assume that, with five games remaining in the regular season and the Raptors clinging to a one-game lead over Chicago for the East’s final playoff spot, they’ll be holding down the fort without their best player for a while. As the Raptors took their playoff drive back to Toronto for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics, the club said in a statement that Bosh would remain in hospital in Cleveland on Tuesday night for “for further evaluation and treatment.”