Aaron Gordon has finally been cleared to return.
The Magic announced that Gordon, who missed the last five games while under the league’s concussion protocol, will return to the lineup on Tuesday when the Magic host the Raptors.
Forward Aaron Gordon has completed the NBA concussion protocol and has been cleared to play tomorrow night vs. Toronto.— Orlando Magic PR (@Magic_PR) March 19, 2018
The Magic went 1-4 without Gordon, the team’s leading scorer at 18.3 points per game. Gordon suffered the concussion during the Magic’s game in Los Angeles against the Lakers on March 7 after colliding with Julius Randle. Though Gordon maintains he suffered a migraine, he was placed under concussion protocol for the second time this season and repeatedly failed the final step that measures short-term memory, delaying his return. If Gordon did indeed have a concussion, it would be his third in 23 months.
Gordon, who has had a rather inconsistent season, now has about three weeks to further showcase his ability before becoming a restricted free agent, though a max offer seems imminent regardless.
His return comes at a time when the Magic are expected to prominently feature the organization’s younger players over the final 12 games of the season. With Jonathan Isaac having been inserted into the starting lineup in Gordon’s absence, it will be interesting to see how Frank Vogel elects to use the two players that are perceived to be the Magic’s most secure building blocks. Gordon and Isaac have barely been on the court at the same time this season, with Isaac having missed a bulk of his rookie year due to ankle injuries. Will Vogel opt to keep both in the starting lineup?
Positions be damned, I’m all for a starting five of Gordon, Isaac, Mario Hezonja, Khem Birch and Wes Iwundu for the remainder of the season.