The already depleted Orlando MAgic were dealt yet another blow on Friday night as forward Aaron Gordon suffered a concussion against the Denver Nuggets.
Already without the likes of Jonathan Isaac and Evan Fournier due to sprained ankles, and Terrance Ross due to a knee injury, the Magic couldn’t afford another injury. Now, heading onto the road on Saturday night, the Magic will be without their two leading scorers, and more importantly, four key rotational players.
This is the second concussion Gordon has suffered since being drafted in 2014.
Gordon sustained the injury in the third quarter when he collided with Nuggets guard Gary Harris under the basket. Harris’ shoulder appeared to contact Gordon’s mouth, causing bleeding, leading to a stoppage in play while Gordon was attended to.
Gordon will now enter the NBA’s concussion protocol, and could be out for an extended period of time.
“It’s tough, but everyone in the league has injuries,” said Magic coach Frank Vogel after the game. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
In his absence, Wes Iwundu, Marreese Speights, and Mario Hezonja will likely see a high increase in minutes. The Magic could also recall Adrian Payne, one of their two-way players, from the Lakeland Magic.
“Yeah, we’re talking about that,” said Vogel when asked about having either two-way player meet the team in Atlanta. “I’m not sure if we’re going to do that or not.”
Nikola Vucevic, who dealt with concussion problems of his own earlier in his career, gave Gordon some advice when he saw him post game.
“As soon as I saw him, I told him to take his time. When it comes to ankle, shoulder, knee, a bruise or a sprain, if it’s sore, you can play through that. You don’t play through a concussion, that’s something you don’t want to mess with.
“That’s your brain, it controls everything. I told him to make sure it’s 100 percent before he comes back. It’s not like an ankle where you can play through soreness. You can’t risk it at all... Something you definitely don’t want to mess with, so I just told him to make sure he’s 100 percent before he gets back.”
With Gordon, Fournier, Ross and Isaac all out, it’s the next man up for the Magic.
Aside from having to make up for over 50 points of production a game, the Magic have to piece together a rotation with what they have.
It might be an uphill battle, but the Magic have a roster full of guys who are hungry for their chance, and Saturday night in Atlanta could be that chance.
Jonathan Isaac injury update
Coach Vogel said following the loss to the Nuggets that Isaac would miss his 15th straight game Saturday with an ankle injury. The team hopes that he’s able to return to the floor soon.
Vogel would not say if Isaac was dealing with more than just a sprained ankle, saying the team has him “as a sprained ankle.”
The Magic badly need Isaac back, especially on the defensive end. His return could spark the team and give them the edge they’ve been missing.