Ford expected to soon return to Raptors' practice

1/30/2008 - NBA T.J. Ford Toronto Raptors + more

TORONTO -- Injured point guard T.J. Ford is close to
practicing again with the Toronto Raptors, but there is still no
timetable for his return to games.

Ford has missed the last 22 games because of a left-arm stinger.
Toronto had gone 12-10 without him entering Wednesday's game
against Washington.

Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo said before the game
Ford's status is "becoming clearer," adding that it's "just a
matter of time" until Ford is able to return.

Ford, 24, has not played since Atlanta rookie Al Horford knocked
him to the ground in a Dec. 11 game at Atlanta. Ford was carried
off on a stretcher and spent the night in a hospital before being
released the following morning.

After visiting a specialist in Cleveland, Ford was cleared to
resume workouts on Jan. 9 and returned home to Houston to train
with former NBA player John Lucas. Ford and Lucas also worked out
together after Ford was injured in 2004.

In 2001, Ford was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of
the openings of the vertebra the spinal cord runs through.

He was injured in a February 2004 collision with Minnesota's
Mark Madsen, then missed the final 26 games of that season and the
entire 2004-05 one with Milwaukee because of neck surgery.

Ford was also sidelined by a stinger during last season's
first-round playoff series against New Jersey. He missed six games
earlier this season with a stinger in his left arm, the result of a
Nov. 20 collision with Dallas' Josh Howard.

Ford is averaging 14.1 points and 6.8 assists in 17 games this