Denton: Harris Makes Regular Season Debut
By John Denton
Nov. 24, 2013
ORLANDO – Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris has had numerous ankle sprains in his basketball career and when he went down on Oct. 20 he assumed that he would return to the court in approximately seven-to-10 days.
Unbeknownst to Harris, the injury was diagnosed as a ``high ankle sprain,’’ meaning the ligaments that connect to the tibia and fibula were damaged. As it turns out, Harris was shocked to hear that doctors wanted him in a walking boot for 10 days or so and then out several more weeks to fully recover.
``I’ve never had (an ankle sprain) this bad, and it definitely was severe. It was a high ankle sprain,’’ Harris said prior to Sunday night’s game. ``Stuff like that takes time to fully heal so that it’s not something that is lingering throughout the full season. This was a tough injury for me, but I used the time to work on my game mentally and physically and evaluate a lot of things.’’
Harris was on the active roster Sunday night for the first time during the regular season. He’s been out of action for the past five weeks as he healed from the injury.
The Magic got Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis back on Saturday night after he had missed 10 months with a fractured foot. The Magic had hoped to activate Harris and center Kyle O’Quinn for Sunday’s game, but O’Quinn’s ankle injury did not respond in a pregame workout session. He is close to returning and when he’s back Orlando will, at long last, become whole again.
The returns mean that 14 of the 15 players on the roster are available for head coach Jacque Vaughn. Hedo Turkoglu is still technically a part of the Magic roster, but the decision has been made that he won’t play in Orlando this season.
The returns come at a time when the Magic are in one of their toughest stretches of the schedule. Sunday’s game was the second in as many nights and after games in Atlanta on Tuesday and at home versus Philadelphia on Wednesday they will have played four times in five nights. Following another home game on Friday against San Antonio, the Magic will depart for a six-game trip that will cover parts of 12 days.
Harris, who averaged 17.3 points and 9.5 rebounds over the final 27 games of last season, came into training camp with high hopes for this season. He initially hurt his ankle when he was accidentally kicked in the foot during a practice in Houston. And the high ankle sprain – an injury that occurs when the lower leg and foot twist outward – put a halt to his season.
``I’m real excited. I’ve been waiting for a long time and it’s going to be a great feeling to get back out there and help my team,’’ Harris said. ``I see a lot of things out there that I could personally be doing to help our team out. I appreciate the game a lot more having been out and I know I can’t take it for granted. I’m just blessed to be back out there tonight.’’
Harris said when the Magic get O’Quinn back they will finally have the entire team together to show what they can do. Harris said he was inspired by Davis’ 20-point, five-rebound effort in 27 minutes on Saturday, and he hopes that he can also bring a spark to the team.
``It will be great. Glen gave us a great spark last night in the game and I was so happy to see that from a guy who has been out so long,’’ Harris said. ``It just shows his focus to come and play the way that he did (on Saturday). Stuff like, getting guys back, that helps us as a team and it will help us in the future.’’
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