Denton's Notebook: January 16, 2012

By John Denton
January 16, 2012

NEW YORK – Orlando Magic shooting guard Jason Richardson spent most of the 90 minutes prior to Monday’s game against the New York Knicks sprawled out on a table with a bulky icepack and an electric stimulus machine strapped to his left knee.

Richardson and the Magic are hoping that the steady rehabilitation on the knee will allow the shooting guard to return as soon as possible. Richardson has been carrying the stimulation machine around with him in a suitcase and conducting round-the-clock treatment sessions.

Richardson missed his first game of the season Monday against the Knicks and will also likely sit out home games against Charlotte and San Antonio on Tuesday and Wednesday. His next shot at playing would be a Friday night home game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Richardson sprained his left knee on Thursday against Golden State when he stepped on an opponent’s foot. He said he had never suffered a similar injury in his 11 NBA seasons, and initially feared for the worst when the pain in his knee was different than he’d felt before.

J.J. Redick made his first start of the season and the 20th of his career on Monday in place of the injured Richardson. Redick will remain in that slot as long as Richardson is out.

``Obviously, we’re not a real big team anyway and then we get smaller (with Redick in the starting lineup),’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``That’s the biggest difference and then we have to go a guy deeper into the bench. But it won’t change the way we approach the game at all.’’

NO DISTRACTIONS: With the Magic off to an 8-3 start heading into Monday’s matinee, some in New York were calling the Magic a surprise team considering the drama surrounding Dwight Howard’s trade requests.

The Magic have managed to overcome the distractions and put aside Howard’s desire to potentially play elsewhere. Howard said before the season that he wouldn’t allow any swirling rumors or trade talks to distract him, and he’s done just that so far this season by raising his statistics in most categories.

Magic power forward Ryan Anderson, who leads the league in both 3-pointers made and attempted, said he’s noticed no ill effects on Howard or the rest of the team when it comes to the swirling trade rumors.

``Dwight’s head and heart are here and I think it shows right now. I mean he’s coming off almost a 50/30 game,’’ said Anderson, referring to Howard’s 45-point, 23-rebound effort against Golden State last week. ``Everything we do filers through Dwight, and he’s been really good so far.’’

ALL-STAR DINNER RECOMMENDATIONS: A writer for interviewed several Magic players and coaches recently, asking them for recommendations for dinner and fun times in Orlando during the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 24-26. Orlando’s Amway Arena will host most of the events, while the Orange County Convention Center will be the site of the NBA Fan Jams.

Van Gundy, as usual, had some of the funniest recommendations by using his dry wit and sarcasm. Van Gundy, who lives in suburb northeast of Orlando, hopes to avoid much of the traffic and hoopla of the all-star weekend.

``Tell them to go to places as far away from my house as possible. I live north of the city, so tell them to go south,’’ Van Gundy said. ``I’m trying to get away from all of the crowds. So I would recommend anything in the attractions area. And downtown is good, too.’’

ETC: The Magic play three games in three days for the first time since the 1999 season because of the NBA lockout. After returning from New York, the Magic host the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday and the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. Van Gundy said because of the early first game and the circumstances of the schedule, the back-to-back-to back isn’t so grueling for the Magic. Said Van Gundy: ``In our case it shouldn’t us that much at all. It shouldn’t affect the first game at all because that’s just a normal game. (On Tuesday), we play and Charlotte is also on a back-to-back. And then when we play San Antonio (on Wednesday) at least they are on a back-to-back, too. So in our case I don’t think it should be a big deal.’’ … Quentin Richardson returned to action for the Magic on Monday after missing the past four games. Richardson tweaked his ankle in practice and Van Gundy said he suffered a ``chemical reaction’’ on the ankle. Richardson denied that, but was unable to play in the three games on the West Coast last week. Richardson hit his first two shots on Monday, hitting a 3-pointer and a deep jump shot. … Magic assistant coach and Knicks legend Patrick Ewing was honored during a timeout in the first quarter. Ewing’s highlights were shown on the video board and fans gave him a standing ovation. Ewing was asked before Monday’s game about the Knicks’ play so far and he said: ``I’m caught up in our game-planning and scouting so I haven’t paid any attention to the Knicks. My next team to scout is the Lakers, so that’s where my focus is.’’

John Denton writes for John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at

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