EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -A sore Jose Calderon started at point guard for the Toronto Raptors and regular starter T.J. Ford was available to play in Game 6 of their playoff series with the New Jersey Nets on Friday.
The status of both players was in question the past three days after Calderon sprained his right ankle and Ford sustained neck, shoulder and arm injuries in the Raptors' win in Game 5 on Tuesday that cut the Nets series lead to 3-2.
Neither practiced on Wednesday or Thursday, but Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said Calderon, who scored 25 points in Game 5, showed him enough in Friday morning's shootout at the Continental Airlines Arena to get the start.
As Mitchell spoke about an hour before the tip-off of the first-round Eastern Conference series, Calderon was doing agility drills on the court, working side-to-side, running forward, backpedaling and then changing direction.
``I don't have to see him, he told me he can play,'' Mitchell said. ``I saw him at shootaround this morning. He did everything we asked him to do this morning and it's playoffs.''
Mitchell started Calderon because Ford had done nothing the past two days. Calderon had done some shooting.
Ford warmed up before Calderon and told Mitchell he could go, which surprised the coach.
``Yeah, 'cause he was in a lot of pain the day before, he was in a lot of pain yesterday but he said it feels a whole lot better,'' Mitchell said.
Ford was hurt in a collision with Vince Carter. He said Friday that a sprained thumb on his non-shooting left hand was the only thing bothering him.
``It's a lot better day-to-day,'' he said at the shootaround. ``I couldn't move it a couple of days ago and now I have a lot of movement and flexibility in it. I think it's a good possibility I can play.''
Ford averaged 15.4 points in the first five games, while Calderon averaged 12.8.
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