Denton: Turk Likely Out Another Month


By John Denton
November 14, 2012

ORLANDO -- A doctor’s check-up that Hedo Turkoglu hoped would lead him one step closer to returning for the Orlando Magic turned sour on Wednesday and the veteran small forward could be out of action another month.

When doctors determined that one of the screws in Turkoglu’s surgically repaired left hand had loosened, his hand, fingers and arm were put back into a cast and his timetable for returning for the Magic was adjusted.

Turkoglu broke the fifth metacarpal in his left hand in the season-opener on Nov. 2 and a day later he had surgery to implant a metal plate and several screws to help the broken bone heal. The hope was that Turkoglu would be able to return after a four-week period or the equivalent of 14 games for the Magic.

But when Turkoglu’s hand was re-casted on Wednesday, it meant that the 13-year NBA veteran is still likely several weeks away from returning. The news upset Turkoglu, who has been dismayed about getting injured in the first game of the season and putting the Magic (2-5) in a bind.

``This situation that I’m going through, mentally it’s just frustrating,’’ Turkoglu said. ``Hopefully it won’t take that much time and I’ll be back soon. Today, I was expecting better news and they told it’s worse. … They saw some screws loose so they want to put a cast on it so it will be more stable. That kind of upsets me because it’s a time setback. That’s the thing I hate about it because I was hoping to come back sooner for this team. Thank God it’s not the worst situation, but it’s still upsetting. Being out there one (game) and then out for weeks, is tough.’’

On a positive note, veteran point guard Jameer Nelson again practiced without pain and is on target to start Friday night in Detroit against the Pistons. Nelson hasn’t played since the opener when he strained his groin and hamstring, missing six straight games. He practiced on Monday, but the decision was to hold him out of Tuesday’s 99-89 loss to New York so that he could have Wednesday and Thursday to work out before playing in a game.

The Magic have had to make adjustments without the 6-foot-10 Turkoglu available. DeQuan Jones and Josh McRoberts have made starts at small forward, while J.J. Redick has started the past two games at shooting guard while Arron Afflalo has moved over to the small forward position.

Turkoglu’s absence could mean more playing time for rookie Maurice Harkless, who played his best game in a Magic uniform Tuesday night against all-star and boyhood idol, Carmelo Anthony. Harkless had 10 points, seven rebounds (four offensive) and four blocked shots – three of which came against Anthony.

``With Turk out that hurts us and we have to come together and hold it down until he comes back,’’ Harkless said. ``When he comes back, he’ll play some minutes. But hopefully by that time the coaching staff will have more confidence in me. It’s a good chance for me to gain their trust.’’

Turkoglu said the plan is for him to return to the doctor each week to have the hand X-rayed again to monitor the progress. He said he plans to continue riding the stationary bike to keep his legs conditioned so that when he’s cleared to return he will be in shape.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he asked Turkoglu what he has seen from the team from the sideline and asked for suggestions he might have. Vaughn is clearly trying to keep Turkoglu involved in the process.

``My communication with him needs to be genuine and just because he’s not suiting up doesn’t mean that the coach doesn’t talk to him or joke with him or ask him how his family is doing. That’s just not how I operate,’’ Vaughn said. ``We talked about basketball, his family and I checked in to see how he was doing (with his recovery). I tried to lift his spirits, if he had any recommendations and what he was seeing out there. I want to keep him involved and see if he has some answers for me.’’

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John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at jdenton@orlandomagic.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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