NEWS
04/13/2012 04:38 EDT | Updated 06/13/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani out for rest of season with calf injury

TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors have shut down Andrea Bargnani for the remainder of the season.

The Italian centre left Sunday's 95-71 loss to Oklahoma City in the second quarter complaining of tightness in his left calf, the same wonky leg that kept him out of 27 games already this season.

The Raptors announced the move ahead of Friday's game against the visiting Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre.

It comes as no surprise after the struggling team was officially eliminated from playoff contention with Monday's 103-98 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Team officials said in a statement the decision was made after Bargnani underwent tests on Thursday, saying he'd be sidelined to eliminate any further risk.

The seven-foot centre was having a breakout season, averaging a team-high 19.5 points, with 5.5 rebounds and 33.3 minutes in 31 games, and was showing a newfound dedication to defence under coach Dwane Casey.

His nagging calf injury in January was a big blow to the Raptors, as he would go on to miss 26 games with a calf strain and then one with calf tightness. He'll miss 35 games in total by season's end.

Toronto has lost four games in a row.