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The Globe and Mail

Raptors ready to honour Canadian Forces

Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon holds his leg as he lies on the court in pain during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Michigan, March 10, 2012. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Some would suggest the unveiling of new, camouflage uniforms is just another ploy by general manager Bryan Colangelo to maintain the under-the-radar status his Toronto Raptors have managed to bask in during the current National Basketball Association season.

What with the continuing follies of the Maple Leafs this season, including their free-fall out of the playoff picture along with the firing of their head coach, the Raptors have been relegated once again to second-class citizens in Toronto's sporting environs - at least until the Argos get going.

Being able to languish in the shadow of their corporate hockey cousins is undoubtedly a good thing for the Raptors, who are immersed in yet another rebuild and are not exactly the second coming of the Boston Celtics themselves.

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With that as a backdrop, the 15-30 Raptors will play the Chicago Bulls at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday in what is being billed as Canadian Forces Appreciation Night.

To commemorate the occasion the Raptors will wear their first of its kind in the NBA camouflage-style uniforms.

More than 300 members of the Canadian military are expected to be on hand for the basketball game.

"Different," came the assessment of Toronto point guard Jose Calderon, who modelled the new ensemble - complete with camouflage-themed basketball shoes - following practice on Monday.

"You don't get to play with this camouflage theme, but it looks nice. I think it's a good idea, something different. I like and hopefully good luck for us, too."

Speaking of Calderon, who has been sidelined of late with an ankle injuries, all signs are pointing toward his return Tuesday night in New York.

Calderon said he practised full out for the first time since the injury on Monday and that the ankle felt good.

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Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he expects if there are not unseen setbacks that Calderon will be back in the starting lineup against the Knicks.

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