Mo Bamba’s season has come to an end.
Just days before the Magic begin the first round of the NBA playoffs, the team announced that Bamba has left the NBA bubble to undergo a “comprehensive post-Coronavirus evaluation.”
It was revealed last week in an exclusive story with The Athletic’s Josh Robbins that Bamba suffered from the coronavirus in June and it greatly impacted his conditioning in the months following.
MEDICAL UPDATE ON MO BAMBA: pic.twitter.com/dhWlCR1vJF— Orlando Magic PR (@Magic_PR) August 14, 2020
Our thoughts are with Bamba, and initial concern as always is for the person before the player. The long-term effects of COVID-19 remain a mystery, with the sports world having already seen Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez being shut down for the season due to a heart condition that the team believes was a result of his bout with the coronavirus.
It was quite apparent shortly after the Magic’s arrival at Disney, prior to Bamba’s COVID-19 revelation, that something was off with the 22-year-old center.
Bamba played sparingly in the Magic’s first two bubble games, appearing in the second half of each game for a grand total of 10 minutes, during which he looked quite lethargic. He didn’t play in the Magic’s final six games.
In 60 games prior to the NBA stoppage on March 11, Bamba averaged 5.5 points 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 14.5 minutes per game (per 36 = 13.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.5 blocks).
Bamba’s field goal percentage dropped from 48.1 percent as a rookie to 46.2 percent in his sophomore season, despite increasing his three-point percentage from 30 percent to 34.6 percent. Bamba had a drastic drop in percentage on field goal attempts within zero to three feet of the basket, falling from 78.8 percent in 2018-19 to 68.1 percent in 2019-20.
Bamba’s season was cut short for the second straight season, as a stress fracture in his leg during his rookie season cost him the final 30 regular season games and first-round series against the Raptors.
The Magic, set to begin their first-round series against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, will continue to have Khem Birch serve as back-up center to Nikola Vucevic.
The loss of Bamba is the latest setback for a Magic team that has seen it’s young core ravaged by injuries during the NBA restart. Jonathan Isaac suffered a torn ACL in just his second game back from a knee injury suffered in January and Aaron Gordon has missed the last four bubble games with a hamstring injury.