Andrea Bargnani underwent surgery today to remove his appendix. The Raptors' rookie was hit with non-perforated acute appendicitis last night and had to get to the hospital right away. Basically, the appendix didn't rupture, but it was going to at any second. Bargnani is going to spend the next few days in hospital and it is unknown when he will return to the lineup. Most likely, he won't return until the playoffs. It all depends on his recovery.
First off: Thank God, Andrea is okay. It doesn't matter if you're an NBA star, a teacher, or a construction worker, your health always comes first.
Second (I say this as a Raptors' fan): This is bad. This is very, very bad.
Bargnani is having a great rookie season. He started off slow but has worked hard and improves with every game. He's getting a lot of attention around the NBA and is one of the factors for Toronto's phenomenal season. Without him, the Raptors would not be in first place in their division and 4th place in the conference.
Will this hurt the Raptors? Absolutely; but, only if they allow it.
From now until the end of the regular season, the Raptors have to step up their play. No cruise control, no mailing it in. The Raptors have to play as if they were hanging on to a playoff spot for dear life. Every single player, needs to increase their output. It doesn't matter whether it's all-star Chris Bosh or the players that only see 4-5 minutes of action like Uros Slokar and PJ Tucker. Everyone has to put in a huge effort and make up for the absence of their teammate.
As Chuck Swirsky noted in his blog, Bargnani is very young (21 to be exact). Therefore, his body will be able to recover faster. Of course, you can't rush him back and the Raptors are fully aware of that.
Along with this, I read yesterday that BJ Ryan has been dealing with a sore back. There's a chance that the Blue Jays' closer won't be able to pitch again until either the end of spring training or, the start of the regular season.
BJ Ryan, the Jays' best relief pitcher, missing action? That is bad. That is very, very bad.