The Orlando Magic welcomed Aaron Gordon back into their starting lineup for Monday’s game against the Miami Heat. Mario Hezonja, who started the previous two games in Gordon’s absence, returned to the bench. Hezonja averaged five points, five rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 26.7 percent shooting in Gordon’s place.
Gordon had missed action due to a bone bruise in his right foot. The injury was never considered serious, but it did call into question his availability for the Slam Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend, where he is slated to compete against Derrick Jones Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Glenn Robinson III.
Entering Monday’s contest, Gordon had posted per-game averages of 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 42.9 percent shooting. Though he has shown signs of emerging as a versatile offensive weapon in his third season, he’s more reliable as a provider of energy and effort. Our own Cory Hutson assessed Gordon’s development in this story.