Daniel Orton's rookie season with the Orlando Magic might have to start later than initially thought. Via Twitter, Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD reports the "word is" the Kentucky product "is still having knee issues that could require surgery."
The Magic selected Orton, 20, with the 29th overall pick in this summer's NBA Draft after just one season with the Wildcats, during which he averaged 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks backing up DeMarcus Cousins at center. President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith said at the time that Orton is "a big guy you don't necessarily have to use today," indicating he made the pick based on Orton's potential to contribute a few years down the line. His performance with the Magic's summer-league team backs up Smith's claim, as Orton struggled mightily, with per-game averages of 3.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks on 14.3 percent shooting.
Orton tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee as a high-school senior, ending his season and hurting his recruiting prospects. Another operation would present another obstacle to Orton, who would have to battle Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat for minutes regardless of his knee's health.
Orlando signed veteran big man Malik Allen to a non-guaranteed deal last week, a move which Philip Rossman-Reick of Orlando Magic Daily speculated could be "insurance" in case Orton wasn't ready to play at this level. Between Howard, Gortat, Allen, and Brandon Bass, the Magic have four players who can play center ahead of Orton, assuming Allen makes the team. The team's official beat writer, John Denton, said last week that Allen is likely to do just that.