Denton: Turk Out Four Weeks; Jones May Get Big Minutes


By John Denton
November 3, 2012

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic suffered a major blow on Friday when Hedo Turkoglu broke a bone in his left hand and needed surgery that will shelve him for a minimum of four weeks.

What makes the loss of Turkoglu doubly difficult for the Magic is that the injury occurred at a position where the Magic are already thin with healthy bodies.

With Turkoglu out a month, Maurice Harkless still recovering from sports hernia surgery in July and DeQuan Jones unable to dress for his first game in the NBA because of a strained abductor muscle in his hip, the Magic don’t have a fully healthy small forward left on the roster. Jones and Harkless did return to practice on Saturday and both could be available Sunday night when the Magic (1-0) host the Phoenix Suns (1-0) at 6 p.m.

There are also other small forward options for the Magic, 102-89 winners on opening night against the Denver Nuggets.

The Magic could move shooting guard Arron Afflalo over to small forward, a position that he played for extensive stretches during the previous three seasons while playing for the Nuggets. Afflalo said following his debut with the Magic that he would have no problem switching over to the small forward position to help out the team.

``If that’s what it’s going to call for that’s what it’s going to call for,’’ Afflalo said. ``It’s very unfortunate about Turk’s injury because he is one of our playmakers, but we’re going to have to continue to move forward. I’ll step out there and play the (power forward) and hone in on my defensive abilities to guard some of those guys who are maybe a little stronger or bigger. I’ll do whatever this team needs.’’

Turkoglu fractured the fifth metacarpal in his left hand during the third quarter of Friday’s victory. The injury occurred when Turkoglu slapped down on a shot attempt by Denver’s Danilo Gallanari and hurt his hands. He had surgery on Saturday morning to repair the broken bone.

The 14-year veteran is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks and his return will be based on how his hand responded to treatment and rehabilitation. If Turkoglu does miss four weeks it would mean he would be out of action for 14 games.

``We’ll have to make do,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``It could be (extra) minutes or different combinations on the floor. So we’ll address it and deal with it.’’

One option for the Magic could be moving J.J. Redick into the starting lineup from his usual reserve role. That would seem to be the best option considering that Redick was the Magic’s best player in preseason and he scored 21 points on Friday night.

But experience has taught Vaughn the value of keeping solid scoring options on the both the first and second strings. As a player and later an assistant coach in San Antonio, Vaughn saw how Gregg Popovich moved Manu Ginobili around to make sure that the Spurs always have scoring on the floor. Vaughn said his inclination is to not tinker with Redick’s role as a reserve.

``It’s been done before and I’m not reinventing anything. I’ve been a part of it and have seen how having balance of the two groups. You need that,’’ Vaughn said. ``It’s a role that I think he’s really good at. Until I see differently I like that role for him.’’

The Magic hope to see the return of Jones, who had to miss the opener because of the mild strain in his groin/inner leg region. Jones entered training camp as an undrafted free agent, but made the Magic roster following a dazzling preseason. Now, he is hoping to help cushion the loss of Turkoglu with his ability to play gritty defense and be athletic on fastbreaks.

``I’m feeling pretty good. I practiced today, but I’m still a little rusty with my timing. But today’s practice was really engaging and helped me get my timing back,’’ said Jones, a University of Miami product. ``It was unfortunate what happened to Turk, but we have to come together and decide what’s best for the team. I look at it as an opportunity to come in and give us what we need off the bench.’’

Affalo struggled with his shot in the opener, but showed no ill effects of having to make the switch from shooting guard to power forward after Turkoglu was lost for the night. Orlando saw Denver cut a 21-point lead to eight in the third quarter, but the Magic eventually stabilized themselves and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a lopsided win.

Afflalo said offensively there’s little to no difference between shooting guard and small forward. But the change comes on defense where he must guard bigger players and focus more on rebounding. On Sunday night it will mean the difference between checking guard Shannon Brown and forward Michael Beasley.

``With the way that we play there is equal opportunities (offensively) on both sides of the court,’’ Afflalo said. ``The challenge is to make sure my body can withstand guarding bigger guys and making sure that I’m consistent with my rebounding. That has to be a point of emphasis of 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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