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Bargnani battling flu ahead of Raptors’ opener

Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani looks on while playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.

The Canadian Press

The Toronto Raptors regular season opener is Wednesday night and the debut might have to take place without Andrea Bargnani.

The team's leading scorer a year ago, Bargnani missed his second consecutive day of practice on Tuesday after coming down with flu-like symptoms.

"He came in this morning, we sent him back home just as precautionary to keep everybody else from getting it," Raptors coach Duane Casey said on Tuesday. "They're monitoring him today, we'll see how he feels tomorrow."

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It is too soon yet to rule Bargnani out for the National Basketball Association opener against the Indiana Pacers, Casey said.

"He didn't look very good," Casey said. "His eyes were all peaked and everything."

Casey said he is counting on Bargnani to be a big key behind how the Raptors fare this season.

"To come in and lead us," Casey said, when asked what he is expecting from the big Italian. "We're going to go as far offensively as he takes us because he's such a threat, a three-point threat on the floor. He spaces the floor for us, he's one of our most respected three-point shooters on the team.

"That's what he means to us. He needs to get off to a good start."

The Raptors will catch a bit of a break in Wednesday's game in that Indiana forward Danny Granger will not be playing.

The Pacers have announced that Granger will be out "indefinitely" with soreness in his left knee.

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Granger, the Pacers' first-round draft pick in 2005, is entering his eighth season with the franchise and has been the team's leading scorer for the past five seasons.

He was an All-Star in the 2008-09 season, when he averaged a career-high 25.8 points.

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