Raptors leading scorer Bosh getting closer to return

Updated: December 5, 2007, 11:11 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Raptors forward Chris Bosh missed his fourth consecutive game Wednesday and Toronto lost 136-123 to the visiting Phoenix Suns.

Chris Bosh


Bosh, bothered by a strained groin, leads the Raptors with 18.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Forward Andrea Bargnani also missed his second straight because of a hyperextended left knee suffered in Saturday's loss at Washington. Bargnani is averaging 11.9 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Bosh is still unable to run at full speed, but said days of stretching exercises have strengthened his groin.

"I've progressed a lot," he said. "A lot of things that were hurting and I couldn't do, I'm now doing a better job of."

Guard T.J. Ford, who missed Monday's victory over Charlotte because of lingering soreness in his left thumb, came off the bench and led the Raptors with 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting.

Ford suffered a stinger in his left arm in a Nov. 20 collision with Dallas' Josh Howard, causing him to miss five of Toronto's next seven games. Ford is averaging 13.2 points and 7.4 assists.

Pacific Division-leading Phoenix has won 11 of 13 and is unbeaten in its last six against Toronto. The Raptors haven't beaten the Suns since a 101-94 victory at Phoenix on Feb. 10, 2004.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press