The Toronto Raptors hope some rest and relaxation translate into success on the hardcourt this season for their big free-agent signing, Hedo Turkoglu.
The Turkish power forward took part in workouts with his new teammates for the first time in training camp on Thursday.
The time off, which the franchise granted, has helped Turkoglu recuperate after helping Turkey qualify for the 2010 FIBA world championships.
“I’m feeling better – physically and mentally,” Turkoglu told reporters after practice. “Hopefully in the next week, I will start practising with the team and get in game shape and be 100 per cent for opening night.”
Despite missing some workouts and being put through the rigors of camp, Turkoglu doesn’t feel the lay off will hurt him.
“We know we are missing the practices right now, but mentally we are there,” Turkoglu said of himself and Chris Bosh, who also was held back due to a hamstring problem. “We are watching and learning, so when we get on the court we won’t be wondering what the hell is going on.”
Bosh played over 11 minutes in Friday’s contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The veteran power forward scored nine points in his pre-season debut and pulled down seven rebounds.
Head coach Jay Triano thought both players haven’t missed a beat.
“They’ve been up here and watching and both of them have extremely high basketball IQs, so it was no problem for them to fit in,” he said. “Both the defensive and offensive shell stuff we did today, they were on top of.”
With five pre-season games left and Turkoglu expecting to get into full workouts next week, he should see some action before the curtain is lifted on the 2009-10 season against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 28 at the Air Canada Centre.
“I don’t need much, man,” he said. “It (training camp and exhibition games are) part of the job and I think the time that I put in this summer, it doesn’t take long to get it back; it’s in me, I just have to play a couple of games and I’ll be back to where I want to be.”