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Hedo Turkoglu benched after he and his virus go clubbing

Mar 29, 2010, 8:46 AM EDT

Hedo Turkoglu has been too sick to play, or even practice this past last week. Stomach virus. We’ve all had those, a nasty bug that just knocks you off your feet and doesn’t let you exercise, work, do anything really…

But you still can go hit clubs up at night.

Well, my stomach viruses were never like that. But apparently Turkoglu’s was. Which is why he was dressed but on the bench Sunday. Well enough to play, finally, but disciplined by the team, according to the Globe and Mail.

The benching came in the wake of reports that Turkoglu was out in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district after the Raptors’ crushing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, a game he didn’t play because of a stomach virus that caused him to leave at halftime of the Raptors loss’ to the Utah Jazz last Wednesday.

When pressed, Raptors president (Raptors general manager) Bryan Colangelo said that word of Turkoglu’s night out had reached the team – apparently fans had spotted him and sent e-mails to team officials and some media – and the matter had been dealt with “internally,” the implication being that the Turkish small forward had been fined.

The best part is the apparent disdain Turkoglu later expresses for both the fans and management in Toronto. As if they are the problem.

Turkoglu — and his massive contract — have been at the heart of the problem in Toronto, where the team is coming off the rails at the end of the season. He’s never been a great defender and Toronto is just horrible at that end of the floor. On offense he is supposed to be the outside to Chris Bosh inside, but right now teams are throwing hard doubles at Bosh and daring any other Raptor to beat them. And nobody is stepping up for Toronto. Including the well-paid Turkoglu.

But you know, it’s that stomach virus.

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