Owing to injuries to All-Star center Dwight Howard (herniated disc) and backup big-man Glen Davis (hyperextended right knee), rookie Daniel Orton will start at center for the Orlando Magic on Monday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers, reports Paul Kennedy of Fox Sports Florida. Orton will find himself matched up against Elton Brand, the former All-Star whom the Sixers have shifted to center specifically for Monday's game in order to match up with Orlando's smallish, depleted frontcourt.
Orton logged a career-high 29 minutes in Orlando's victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, finishing with 11 points, four rebounds, five steals, and three blocked shots. Davis banged knees with Samardo Samuels early in the game, pressing the rookie from Kentucky into the first significant playing time of his career.
His Magic teammates, who have watched him battle knee injuries since Orlando selected him 29th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, celebrated Orton's coming-out party. Davis doused him with a bucket of water, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Orton also earned praise on Twitter from Quentin Richardson, J.J. Redick, and Justin Harper.
Monday's will be Orton's first start since his December 2010 stint in the NBA D-League, which lasted just two games after he reaggravated a past knee injury. He served as DeMarcus Cousins' backup in his lone season at Kentucky, so Orton's start against Philly will be just his third since his senior season at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.