Is Calderon's Ankle Injury a Long-term Gain for Raptors?

Jose Calderon had to be carried off the court last night. Could the Raptors benefit though from his absence?

Seeing Jose Calderon go down was painful for Raptors fans, more painful even than last night's dismal performance against Detroit. But could a stint on the DL be in the Raptors' best interest long-term?

Start up the tank.

Or at least get those keys in the ignition.

In last night's 105 to 86 loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Toronto Raptors lost point guard Jose Calderon to an ankle injury late in the first half.

He had to be carried off the court, and while X Rays were negative, it seems the Dinos will be without their MVP for at least a few games.

MVP you say?

While Andrea Bargnani started off the season playing at perhaps an All-Star level and DeMar DeRozan has been better of late, Calderon has been the team's most consistent player all season.

He's tied with Chris Paul for third in the league in assists per game, his 4.46 assist/turnover ratio is by far the league's best, he's up in nearly all statistical categories over last season, and by Wages of Wins standards, he's already provided close to four wins to a team that has...oh...13.

And considering the Raptors told Anthony Carter he was free to roam amongst the other NBA options that might be available, not to mention that he was, you know, Anthony Carter, that leaves Jerryd Bayless as the point guard for the Toronto Raptors.

That's potentially great for my fantasy team, but for a club trying to forget about last night's Triano-esque performance?

And with Gary Forbes and Leandro Barbosa as back-ups?

Not so good.

Unless of course, you're watching the NCAA conference tournaments, and eyeing guys like Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes.

And even if you're not, provided Jose's injury isn't serious, X Rays came back negative apparently, maybe there's other benefits of having Jose sit for a while.

For starters, this probably gives the team a chance to evaluate Jerryd Bayless once and for all. He's not a point guard in the pure sense of the word, but if he shows he can run the team over the time period that Jose is out, maybe then Bryan Colangelo feels he can move Leandro Barbosa. Again, it's not that you want Bayless as a fake Russell Westbrook going forward, but he and Barbosa duplicate roles right now and going forward, you really only want one such chucker on your club I'd argue.

As well, there's one other thing that's of interest to me that likely becomes quite clear with Jose out.

How important Andrea Bargnani is to this team.

The question had to be asked didn't it? Bargs definitely stepped up his game at the start of the season but watching Toronto play the last few games prior to last night has to make one wonder. Would this team have been markedly better with Andrea?

I'm honestly not sure.

I was excited to see Andrea playing as well as he was at the start of the season but the reality is that it was 13 games. I need to see that type of play for a much longer period of time before I pencil him in as a key part of this club going forward. (Last night's "return performance" didn't help, although except maybe Aaron Gray, no one on the Raptors looked particularly like an NBA player against Detroit.)

Calderon's absence likely allows us to take a closer look.

And that look starts with Toronto's match tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks are trying to get back into the playoffs, just a few games back of the struggling Knicks, and will present a big challenge to a TO team minus Jose, and trying to get Bargs back in rhythm. I'm expecting a hard-nosed low-scoring affair, not to mention one which hardly needs three keys.

It likely needs one, and that's to forget that last night's match ever occurred.

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