TORONTO - Fresh off one of his most impressive outings of the season, DeMar DeRozan sat by his locker and spoke about carrying his suddenly injury-ridden team while a small piece of gauze soaked up the blood on the hand he used to carry them. Theres some irony there, somewhere. DeRozan needed "four or five" stitches to close a gash in the webbing of his left hand following Wednesdays surprising 107-103 win over the Houston Rockets. "I didnt even notice," he said. It happened late in the fourth quarter as he tried to rip the ball away from Omer Asik. "I looked down and my whole hand was soaked." "It wouldnt stop bleeding. But its cool." Next to Terrence Ross, the Raptors healthiest starter might be the guy with the bloody mitt. They had been fortunate to avoid the injury bug for most of the season but, as they say, when it rains, it pours. Suddenly, its hit them like a monsoon. Missing Kyle Lowry for the first time this season, out with soreness in his left knee, Toronto lost another indispensable cog when Amir Johnson was removed three minutes into Wednesdays game, having tweaked a lingering right ankle ailment. Just a few minutes later the Raptors fell behind by 12 points. With eight games left in their feel-good, Cinderella season the sky was falling, or so we thought. Fact is, this wouldnt be the first time theyve been written off, left for dead. They havent followed the script to this point, so why would they start now? "Guys stepped up," Dwane Casey said. With Patrick Patterson leading the charge in his second game back from an elbow injury, the second unit immediately captured momentum. John Salmons played his best basketball in months while Nando De Colo and Tyler Hansbrough both gave Toronto a lift with their energy off the bench. Greivis Vasquez, starting in place of the injured Lowry, filled in admirably at the point, recording eight assists without committing a turnover in a season-high 40 minutes of action. But no one was quite as impressive as DeRozan. The all-star guard faced all the additional defensive attention you would expect without Lowry in the lineup but after a 12-minute adjustment period he put the team on his shoulders and got to work. "I had to pick up the slack with [Lowry] out," said DeRozan, making just one of his five shots in the first quarter. "I havent really played without Kyle, hes played every game. It was an adjustment for me tonight but I figured it out there after the first quarter." DeRozan scored 15 of his game-high 29 points in the second quarter, connecting on all six of his attempts in the frame, including a 32-foot bank shot to end the half. Rising to the occasion, DeRozan was at his best when his team needed him most; the mark of a true all-star. The Raptors have two players that fit that description. With DeRozan sidelined for a couple games in late February, Lowry led Toronto to a pair of victories, scoring over 30 points in each contest. Now it was his turn to carry the load. "Theyve been doing it the whole year," Vasquez said of the teams star backcourt. "Both [of them]. Its not hidden that theyre our leaders. We go as they go and everybody understands that. This is why we have a healthy locker room. Were not fighting egos. We know whats going on. Those two guys are going to score, those two guys are going to make winning plays for us and weve just got to feed off their energy. Whenever those guys go down weve got their back, thats what this team is all about." Lowry originally sustained the injury colliding with LeBron James in Mondays loss to the Heat. Although there was no structural damage to his knee, it was still swollen on Wednesday and the teams medical staff decided it was best to hold him out, much to the dismay of Lowry, one would imagine. "If it were up to him he would go one leg," Casey joked before the game. "But you dont want to risk his future health for one game." Even in his absence, Lowrys tendencies seemed to rub off on his teammates. DeRozan took a rare charge. Vasquez tried to do the same, though he was called for a blocking foul. "I know he was laughing," Vasquez said of Lowry, who leads the league in drawing charges. "He knows I dont take charges." The good news for the Raptors is that neither Lowrys knee injury or Johnsons bum ankle appears too serious. Both players will benefit from some much-needed rest during Thursdays off day and hope to be ready for Fridays home tilt with the Pacers, Torontos final game against a winning opponent this season. "Weve been very lucky not to have had some major injuries, knock on wood, throughout the year," Casey said. "The little injury bug has hit us a little bit. The schedules not going to stop. Weve got to keep going. Next man up." Casey reaches milestone With the victory, Casey notched his 100th win at the helm of the Raptors, becoming the third coach in team history to reach that plateau, joining Sam Mitchell and Lenny Wilkens. Asked about the accomplishment after the game, the Raptors third-year bench boss shifted the focus to his players, as expected. "All I know is its [win] number 43 for us this year," he said. "Its not about [me]. Its about the team, its about the organization, its about the players that have been here the three years and the process that weve gone through." "To start where we did and kind of build, and were still building, is a tribute to the young guys and the players that have been through here." The stat The Raptors will finish the year with a 16-14 record against Western Conference teams, their first season above .500 versus the West since 1999-00. The quote "Ever since I was in New Orleans I wanted to start my whole career," said Vasquez, who made his second start as a Raptor after doing so in all 18 games with the Kings this season and all 78 he appeared in with New Orleans last year. "But when I came here I really humbled myself and understood that its about winning more than about putting up numbers. I can go out there and play 36 minutes and put up crazy numbers but what about the playoffs? What about making winning plays?" "So Im going to be ready, man. I love this team and Im willing to do whatever it takes." Devin Hester Bears Jersey .com) - Roosevelt Jones had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead No. Khalil Mack Womens Jersey . 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We know all about the great games of the past from the players, the broadcasters and the writers.GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman underwent a 2 1/2-hour operation Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game. Team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek said Chapman could begin throwing off a mound in six to eight weeks, a timetable that could get him back in games in late May. The left-hander with a fastball that has reached 105 mph could start exercising and throwing on flat ground in a couple of weeks, Kremchek said. The doctor called Chapman "a very lucky guy." The surgery was performed by cranial facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ed Joganic. Kremchek said earlier that a metal plate would be inserted in the bone above Chapmans left eyebrows and would remain there permanently. Chapman has a very mild concussion but no other brain injury and no injury to his eye, Kremchek said. "Hes feeling better and he has some pain management. Were optimistic that he is going to be on the mend," Reds manager Bryan Price said after meeting with players Thursday morning at the teams spring training facility. "Obviously, well stay in touch. We will make sure we follow the process as we continue to get familiar with the injury itself. We will let him know how much support he has and that we care about him. Hopefully, we will see him here very soon." Cincinnati catcher Brayan Pena, a fellow Cuban and Chapmans close friend, was one of several Reds players who visited the injured pitcher Wednesday night and spoke to him on the phone Thursday morning. "He was talking to me and we joked a lot," Pena said. "He just wanted to make sure for me to tell everybody that he appreciate so much the fans prayers, especially our teammates, our coaching staff, everybody around, how much support and how much love he received and got from all of us." Pena said Chapman was very happy when they spoke Thursday, "talking and joking. He was talking a lot about some Cuban jokes and thats good because that means his memory is still working pretty good." The frightening incident, widely available on video via the Internet, occurred in the sixth inning of Wednesday nights game at Kansas Citys spring training facility in Surprise, where the Royals Salvador Perez lined Chapmans 99 mph fastball into the pitchers face. Chapman was knocked backward to the ground, then rolled on his face, kicking in pain. Pena rushed to the mound. "Honestly, when I saw it I wanted to cry," Pena said. "That was my first feeling because it was very scary. It was very scary because I saw the line drive going straight for his face, and then I saw him bleeding and kicking and moving around tthe way he was.dddddddddddd" Pena said Chapman "wasnt even talking. He was just like moaning and making sounds and then when I got there I panicked because I didnt know what else to do. Then the medical staff guys got there, and those guys were great." Chapman was taken off the field on a stretcher as the crowd fell into an eerie silence and the game was called. The pitcher was taken to a nearby hospital, then transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. Kremchek said he expected Chapman to remain hospitalized for a couple of days and perhaps get released on Saturday. The ball hit Chapman in one of the most protected areas of the skull, the doctor said. "If you get hit in the side of the head, that could be disastrous," Kremchek said. "Where Aroldis got hit, you dont want to say he got hit in a good spot because hes undergoing surgery, but it could have been a lot worse, a lot more injuries, a lot more permanent. Hes very lucky." The 26-year-old Chapman has a blazing fastball that regularly hits 100 mph. The two-time All-Star defected from Cuba in 2009 and made the Reds in his first season of 2010. He had 38 saves each of the past two seasons, with 122 strikeouts in 71 2-3 innings in 2012 and 112 strikeouts in 63 2-3 innings in 2013. Price, a former pitcher, said pitchers are in a dangerous situation, "regardless of how hard you throw." "Its hard to defend yourself from 53, 54 feet," the manager said. "And everyone finishes their pitches differently. Everyone is not in a perfect fielding position and even if you are there is no guarantee that you can protect yourself when a balls hit that hard." Major League Baseball approved a protective cap for pitchers this winter following several terrifying scenes similar to this one in the last few years. The hats were available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis but most pitchers have rejected them. Besides, the hats would offer no protection to the face, where Chapman was hit. Chapman particularly wanted to thank the Royals organization for its support and offer assurance to Perez that it is just something that happens in baseball and was not his fault. Pena said he also felt some responsibility. "I kind of blame myself a little bit because I could have called slider or I should have called changeup," Pena said. "Thats your thought process. Everything goes through your mind and youre looking for answers. ... You kind of put yourself in that guilt feeling." But Chapman, Pena said, told him "You know, its not your fault. I should have thrown slower. Im the one feeling very bad about it and hes the one thats cheering me up. Hes the one in the hospital." ' ' '