Denton: Turk Could Play Friday (Part 2)
By John Denton
December 27, 2012
``I said this when we were winning – I don’t think you can get momentum; I think you just have to continue to do the same things over and over and get better at it,’’ Redick said. ``It comes down to preparation and getting better. We have to get better with `Baby’ out. We were playing well and `Baby’ got hurt and now we have to figure out how to get better with him out an extended period of time. Hopefully, we’ll get (Hedo Turkoglu) back in the next few games. And we’ll figure things out.’’
Turkoglu hasn’t played since Nov. 2 when he jammed his hand on an opposing player and minutes later left the floor in obvious pain. He underwent surgery the following day with screws and a metal plate being installed to stabilize the broken bone. When those screws shifted during the rehabilitation, Turkoglu had his hand re-casted and the expected four-to-six absence was pushed back to the current eight weeks.
He practiced with the team in a controlled setting on Christmas Eve and went hard again on Thursday, leading to hope that he can get back onto the floor on Friday night for a Magic team that needs help what with Davis sidelined and Al Harrington still out.
``Not just because they are struggling, but even when they were winning, I just want to be a part of the team again,’’ Turkoglu said. ``Through the good and bad, I’m a part of this team. I just want to give my everything to the team. When they are winning, I’m enjoying it and when they lose, I lose too.
``It’s been really wild to me that I haven’t had than many injuries in my career and I’ve been upset about it,’’ Turkoglu continued. ``I feel like I left my team out there. But I’m getting better and hopefully I’ll be back soon.’’
Because of his versatility, the hope is that Turkoglu can solve some of the issues that have bedeviled the Magic of late. As an elite ball-handler, Turkoglu can initiate pick-and-roll plays and take some of the play-making duties off the shoulders of Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick. Also, Turkoglu can play both the small forward and power forward positions at times, allowing Arron Afflalo to remain at the shooting guard position and also helping to fill the void at power forward caused by Davis’ injury.
``He brings playmaking and he’s a really unselfish player, so when you have a lot of guys on a team given the freedom to score and you add a guy who is a plsymaker, it will help the flow for us,’’ Afflalo said. ``He’s a mismatch with his size, his ball-handling and his passing abilities. At the end of the day, he creates mismatches for us. Hopefully he can get back soon because his instincts and IQ are still there. I’ll be excited to get him back.’’
Added Magic coach Jacque Vaughn: ``(Turkoglu) did a little bit (in practice on Thursday) and it will be good to see how he responds. He’s getting there. He’s probably not in the condition that he was when he got hurt. Anytime you get a guy back with the basketball IQ that Turk has, that’s a plus. He picks up on things very quickly and even though he’s been out he knows our plays. So hopefully, (he’ll be back) soon.’’
Vaughn said he hasn’t made a decision yet as to how he will handle the shuffling the minutes at small forward with starter Maurice Harkless and Turkoglu. Harkless, a 19-year-old rookie, has started the past 18 games, but he’s played just an average of 18.8 minutes a game while averaging only 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds.
``Honesty – I always tell it like it is,’’ Vaughn said. ``It’s pretty simple, I’ll tell Turk if I’m playing him and I’ll tell Mo if I’m playing him. I’ve been that way, and I’ll be fair with guys because I’m honest with them.’’
Turkoglu has worked for a couple of weeks with Vaughn’s top assistant coach, James Borrego, on shooting drills. Simply catching the ball was a big task at first because of the stiffness and soreness in the hand. But he’s slowly been able to catch, shoot and dribble without pain. Turkoglu knows that whacks to the hand in games are coming, and he thinks he’s to a point where he will be able to withstand such trauma.
``I’ve been really working on that (catching the ball),’’ Turkoglu said. ``It’s going to be part of the game getting hit. I’ll bump into people, but I’m keeping myself in good shape. I’m still not 100 percent, but I can’t wait for it to be 100 percent. This (soreness) will probably be with me all the time and I just can’t worry about it. I’ll go play as hard as I can and do well.’’
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