Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson, the Orlando Magic's top two scorers and rebounders, traveled with the team to Michigan for their Tuesday matchup against the Detroit Pistons, but it's "unclear" if they'll be available for the game, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Howard and Anderson are nursing a sore back and a sprained right ankle, respectively.
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says Howard's back spasms stem from overly physical defense from Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood. According to Van Gundy, Haywood punchd Howard in the back several times during Orlando's loss to Dallas on Friday. Anderson, meanwhile, sprained his ankle defending Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson on Sunday as Lawson sank a key basket to put the Nuggets up four points with 23.9 seconds remaining.
Glen Davis started in Howard's place on Sunday, putting up 18 points and a career-best 16 rebounds. Anderson tallied 20 points and nine boards before having to limp off the floor.
If Anderson cannot play Tuesday, one presumes Hedo Turkoglu would shift to power forward and Jason Richardson would slide to small forward, opening a slot in the starting lineup for J.J. Redick. Such an approach would keep Earl Clark on the bench as the backup big man and ensure Clark and Davis would not encounter foul trouble at the same time.
Orlando's bigs behind Davis, Anderson, and Clark are rookies Daniel Orton and Justin Harper. The two have combined for four points, three rebounds, an assist, a block, and three turnovers in 32 minutes, shooting 1-of-7 from the floor.
With Howard and Anderson in the starting lineup, the Magic fell to the Pistons, 89-78, on December 2nd.