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Calderon playing through the pain

If there’s one thing that’s become apparent over the last few weeks, it’s that Raptors point guard Jose Calderon can play.

If there’s one thing that’s become apparent over the last few weeks, it’s that Raptors point guard Jose Calderon can play.

It’s practice that’s the issue.

Throwing a wrench into the common perception that NBA players need time in the gym on off-days to work on their craft, Calderon has been putting up impressive numbers despite not being able to take part fully between games.

“I feel weird. It’s the only thing I don’t like,” said Calderon, still dealing with pain in his left foot. “I like to practise every day. I can do the shooting ... The only thing is I cannot push it. I cannot do the five-on-five because of the next day. We don’t know how it’s going to feel the next day, so we have to be careful.”

The sore foot and a bad ankle haven’t taken a toll on what he’s done during games. Calderon has had double-figure assists in six of Toronto’s last eight games and has been playing his best basketball of the season. The pain in his foot disappears once he gets out on the court. It flares up when the game ends.

“Out there I feel comfortable, I feel good,” he said. “I know it’s getting better, so soon I’ll be back at normal, hopefully. After the game, it’s bad ... when you start getting cold again.”

Coach Jay Triano, who hasn’t had a full roster for practice in more than a month, said the Raptors are flying by the seat of their pants to get the most out of Calderon.

“We’re just trying to patchwork right now, trying to let him rest on that day (after a game), let the swelling go down a little bit, let it feel a bit more comfortable,” the coach said. “Then he ramps it up on game day. He’ll shoot in the morning of game day and he’ll shoot in practice right before the game.”

Calderon’s renaissance actually began with one of general manager Bryan Colangelo’s biggest in-season moves. In 18 games since Jarrett Jack was dealt to New Orleans, Calderon has averaged 12.2 points and 9.7 assists while shooting 51.4 per cent from the floor and 48.9 per cent from three-point range.

 
 
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