Orlando Magic power forward Brandon Bass, thriving in his starting role, might require arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, which could prompt him to miss several weeks, reports Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Bass "heard a pop," says Schmitz, landing in the second quarter of Thursday's victory over the New York Knicks. The subsequent swelling and pain have forced him to miss the team's practices on Friday and Sunday.
Losing Bass for a prolonged period would deal another blow to the Magic's thin frontcourt rotation. Since trading Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns in mid-December, coach Stan Van Gundy has relied upon Bass, Ryan Anderson, and Dwight Howard as his only everyday big-men, with Bass serving as both the team's starting power forward and its backup center. Van Gundy said Friday he's happy with this arrangement for now. It's easy to understand why. During the Magic's five-game winning streak, Anderson and Bass have combined to average 23 points and 11.8 rebounds.
Given the lack of frontcourt depth, it's possible the Magic could redouble their efforts to acquire, via either a trade or outright free-agent signing, another big man. "I don't think [getting another big is] as big a necessity as what other people think right now," Van Gundy said Friday, albeit under different circumstances.
In the short term, I'd expect second-year combo forward Earl Clark, whom Van Gundy praised for his talent and work ethic following Friday's practice, to log some minutes at power forward if Bass is unavailable this week. Here, Schmitz reports the veteran Malik Allen, out for nearly two weeks due to a sprained ankle, "is still a few more days away from returning." He figures to join the rotation if Bass elects to have surgery.
Bass has earned a reputation as a hard worker, and maybe even a warrior, in his Magic tenure. After battling tendinitis in the preseason, Bass told Orlando Pinstriped Post, "I'm not going to pull myself out [of a game] unless I really, really can't go."