Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks left Wednesday’s game in New Orleans due to an apparent injury to his shooting hand, and he did not return. Meeks suffered the injury attempting to steal the ball from Anthony Davis; Davis’s knee happened to hit Meeks’ hand as he was reaching for the basketball. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reported earlier this evening that Meeks sustained a dislocation of his thumb on his (right) shooting hand.
An MRI showed Jodie Meeks has 2 sprained ligaments in his thumb. He will not need surgery. Estimated timeframe: He'll be out 4 to 6 weeks.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) January 19, 2017
This news couldn’t come at a worse time for the Magic, who after suffering through a recent 1-5 road trip, now find themselves ten games below .500 and 4.5 games back from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
To make matters worse, the Magic have also been without starting shooting guard Evan Fournier, who has missed five of the last ten contests (including the last three on Orlando’s road trip) because of a lingering right heel injury.
Meeks has been more than serviceable for the Magic this season after missing Orlando’s first 19 games due to a July foot surgery. Meeks has averaged 8.9 points per game and shot over 40 percent from behind the three-point line this season. Meeks has even started nine games this year for the Magic, including a memorable 23-point performance to begin 2017 against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
With Fournier still hobbled, Mario Hezonja, C.J. Watson, and C.J. Wilcox are all expected to get extended minutes and opportunities for the time being. Meeks’ injury presents an opportunity especially for Hezonja, who has struggled all season to carve out a defined role in Frank Vogel’s nightly rotation.
Another reasonable option for Orlando is to call-up D-League standout Anthony Brown, who is averaging 21.7 points for the Erie Bayhawks. Brown, a 6-foot-7 wing out of Stanford, was selected in the Second Round of last year’s draft by the Lakers. Brown was the top pick of the Development League’s draft this past October. Brown spent all of last season with Los Angeles (and their affiliate, the D-Fenders), and even spent a little time with the New Orleans Pelicans this season before being reassigned to Erie. Brown has shot 47 percent from long range for the Bayhawks on 5.5 attempts per game.
As Robbins reported, Meeks will not require surgery on his injured thumb, and is expected to return in four to six weeks. Meeks is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.