for this game

Garbajosa injured in Raptors' loss to Celtics

Mar 27, 2007 - 3:48 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Toronto Raptors may have lost more than a game against the lowly Boston Celtics. One of their most versatile players could be out for a long time.

Forward-center Jorge Garbajosa suffered what appeared to be a serious lower leg injury in the Raptors' 95-87 loss to the Celtics.

While the Raptors hold a comfortable six-game lead in the Atlantic Division and likely will earn the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the loss of Garbajosa could be costly.

"He just came down on it, I guess," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "We have no idea. We'll know tomorrow. I mean, what do you want me to say? You hate to see anybody get hurt."

Garbajosa was coming off a season-high 22 point effort against the Denver Nuggets on Friday. The Raptors are already without rookie forward Andrea Bargnani, who had his appendix removed Wednesday. The 7-footer, who was averaging 11.5 points and earned Rookie of the Month honors in January and February, is out indefinitely

"It seems like the last week or so, we've been dropping like flies," Toronto forward Morris Peterson said. "We have a lot of guys injured. We understand that's part of the game and we're trying to finish the season strong. A guy like Garbo (Garbajosa) brings a lot to the table. Other guys are going to have to step up now."

The 6-9 Spaniard had five points on 2-of-7 shooting and five rebounds when he went up to block Al Jefferson's layup attempt with 4:31 the fourth quarter. He landed awkwardly on his left leg and crumbled to the floor in pain. Medical personnel immediately placed a cast on the leg and he was carried off the court on a stretcher.

"With Garbo going down, he's a big part of our team so we're definitely going to miss him," Toronto guard T.J. Ford said. "I hate that it happened because he brings so much to the table on the defensive end, offensive end, his intelligence, his knowledge of the game. For him to go down in this game, it's definitely going to hurt us. Man, it's tough."

Garbajosa was taken to New England Baptist Hospital, where he will undergo further evaluation Tuesday morning.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points and dished out eight assists to lead the Celtics to just their 10th home win of the season, the lowest total in the NBA.

"We've been hit-or-miss, look at our record," Pierce said. "We are going to continue to grow and that's the key. We are going to learn from our mistakes. We are going to make more mistakes in these next 12 games but hopefully we can look at these tapes over the summer and the guys can put this year behind them and grow from it and move on."

Jefferson added 22 points and pulled down nine boards for the Celtics, who connected on 24-of-27 free-throw attempts, including nine in a row in the last 87 seconds to seal the victory.

Ford scored 19 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who missed an opportunity to sweep the season series from the Celtics for the first time in franchise history.

"We started off well but our second and third quarter really hurt us," Ford said. "Especially, turnovers really killed us tonight. We knew they were going to play hard but once they got momentum, they didn't really let us get it back."

"Nobody played good," Mitchell said. "We had 19 turnovers. We didn't play the way we've been playing. We threw the ball away. We tried to make great passes instead of making simple passes."

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