Magic SF Hedo Turkoglu on Tuesday was fitted for a protective mask he will wear if he can return to play in the postseason. Turkoglu underwent surgery to repair fractures to his right cheekbone April 7. The Magic are hoping to have him back in time for the playoffs, which could start for the club either Saturday or Sunday. He did not take part in the contact portion of practice, but shot baskets and worked on some moves with an assistant coach after the Magic's workout on Tuesday.
Turk said he is pushing himself to get ready for the playoffs, but honestly wonders how effective he can be.
Turkoglu was injured when New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony inadvertently struck him in the face with his elbow April 5.
Former Magic SG Courtney Lee played while wearing a mask during the 2009 playoffs after an inadvertent elbow from teammate Dwight Howard broke his nasal cavity.
Without Turkoglu, the Magic have had to play a smaller lineup. SG Jason Richardson, listed at 6-feet-6, but owns up to being 6-4, was moved to Turk's small-forward spot. J.J. Redick, 6-4, has come off the bench to play shooting guard for Richardson.
The 6-10 Turkoglu at least has the height to match up with taller small forwards.
"He adds a little more size and is another guy who can make plays," PG Jameer Nelson said of Turkoglu.
Nelson and SF Quentin Richardson are both nursing minor calf injuries, and F Earl Clark missed the last two games with a knee injury. All sat out practice.
Richardson and Clark said they likely would play against the Bobcats. Nelson said he would leave the decision to team trainer Keon Weise.
Nelson was injured in the first quarter of the Magic's loss to the Nuggets in Denver on Sunday night.
Asked if he would play Wednesday night, Nelson said, "I can only tell you about right now … I feel a little better. It's better with a couple days of rest. I wouldn't rule it out."
The Magic are not only battered and bruised, but Glen "Big Baby" Davis is feeling the effects of playing extended minutes with Howard out.
'Dead men' talking
F Ryan Anderson was asked if he had read a comment that the Magic were "dead men walking" as a playoff threat without Howard.
"That's the safe thing for people to say," Anderson said. "We can go out and surprise a lot of people. I think we have a lot of talent and proven that we can beat great teams ... If people want to call us the underdog or dead man walking or whatever it is, that's what they can think. That's the safe thing if you're a betting man.
"But I think we have a great team. We play extremely hard and I don't think we're going give up without a fight."
Stan Van Gundy thought the players using a line from the movie "New Jack City" was "apropos to what we've been going through. No. 1, we're not looking around for excuses for what we're going through. This is all we've got and we need to pull together to get the job done."
The Magic will hold Fan Appreciation Night on Wednesday night in the regular-season home finale. Fourteen randomly selected fans and 14 community partners will receive jerseys. One lucky season-ticket holder will be able to win $20,000 by making a half-court shot.
The Magic finish the season against the Grizzlies in Memphis Thursday night. (orlandosentinel.com)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07
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