Denton's Notebook: February 3, 2012

By John Denton
February 3, 2012

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic suspended Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis for two games on Friday for conduct detrimental to the team, leaving a squad already thin along the frontline shorthanded for Saturday night’s game in Indiana.

The team would not go into details of the incident, but Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said there was an incident in the locker room after the Friday morning walkthrough.

Van Gundy would not say whether or not there had been repeated problems with Davis and added only that he and Magic President of Operations/General Manager Otis Smith would talk to the temperamental power forward on Monday morning.

An angered Davis left the team’s shootaround early Friday morning. According to Van Gundy, who said that he had never before suspended a player, the incident was entirely verbal and not physical.

``There was no physical element, nor was there any attempt at a physical element,’’ Van Gundy said. ``He didn’t come toward me or any of that.’’

The Magic acquired the 6-foot-9, 290-pound Davis in a sign-and-trade deal with the Boston Celtics in early December. Davis, a five-year NBA veteran, left Boston for Orlando seeking a bigger role and the four-year, $26 million contract that he signed.

He was beaten out at the power forward slot by Ryan Anderson and came off the bench in 21 of the 22 games he’s played in so far. He’s averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds a game, while shooting just 36.5 percent from the floor. Van Gundy has been critical of Davis at times for focusing too much on scoring instead of rebounding and defending.

``He’s been frustrated, yeah. It’s fair to say that,’’ Van Gundy said. ``But a lot of guys get frustrated and you have to deal with that frustration.’’

Van Gundy said if the meeting with Davis goes well Monday morning he will play that night against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Amway Center.

JAMEER GETTING CLOSER: Not with the team for six days after suffering a concussion, Magic point guard Jameer Nelson returned to the team facility on Friday for a couple of workouts. Nelson did some jogging Friday morning and got up some shots before the Magic’s game against Cleveland.

Nelson suffered a concussion last Friday when he was accidentally hit in the jaw with an elbow. Later that night, Nelson began experiencing headaches and nausea.

Nelson will have to pass a series of tests before he’s allowed to return. Players are giving baseline brain scans as a part of their preseason physicals and then their scans are measured against that test. Nelson won’t be allowed to return until given clearance by Magic doctors and approved by a physician affiliated with the NBA’s league office.

``It was the day that it happened and (after the nausea and headaches) that’s when I knew that I had a concussion,’’ Nelson said. ``It’s getting better, but I have to go through the protocol. I’ve been going through everything that they tell me to do and we’ve been increasing it slowly.’’

By Nelson’s count, it is the third concussion of his eight-year NBA career. The previous two came from collisions with Magic star center Dwight Howard – one in training camp in 2007 and one in 2009 during a game. Nelson said he isn’t worried about having multiple concussions affect his future in the NBA.

``It’s three; two from Dwight. I got the stitches (above his right eye) from Dwight and the elbow from Dwight in the game and this one right here,’’ Nelson said. ``No, I don’t worry too much about it. I’ll be fine.’’

TO INDY BY WAY OF CINCY: As is always the case when playing back-to-back games on the road, the Magic left Orlando following Friday’s game en route to the next city.

However, with the Super Bowl being in Indianapolis this week, the Magic were forced to fly to Cincinnati and stay there because of the lack of available lodging in Indy. In the NBA’s first draft of the schedule, the Los Angeles Clippers were slated to play the Pacers on Saturday – the night before the Super Bowl. But when the schedule was changed following the lockout, the Magic were slated to play in Indy.

Originally, the Magic were told they would have to have to make the 150-mile trip from Cincinnati to Indianapolis via bus. They have since changed those plans, allowing the Magic to fly in Saturday afternoon. The Magic plan to hold a morning meeting in their Cincinnati hotel, fly to Indianapolis at 3 p.m. and head straight to the area. They will fly back to Orlando immediately after the game.

``The league has been really kind to us with this schedule,’’ Van Gundy said. ``What I think about it, I’m going to keep it to myself and save my money (and avoid a NBA fine).’’

The Magic were last in Cincinnati in 2008 when the team plane had mechanical problems on the way home from Detroit during a second-round playoff series.

ETC: Veteran shooting guard Jason Richardson returned to the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a bone bruise in his left knee. He originally suffered the injury three weeks ago in a game at Golden State when he twisted his knee. Richardson showed off the spring in the knee in the first quarter Friday night by catching an alley-oop pass from Chris Duhon and scoring on a dazzling reverse dunk. … After spending much of the past three seasons as a reserve point guard, Duhon has been pressed into starter’s minutes because of injuries. In the four games before Friday, Duhon played 31, 33, 35 and 30 minutes, testing his stamina. Said Duhon: ``It’s rough, especially with the condensed schedule this season. But why would I ever complain about playing more minutes? I’m fine.’’ … Rookie point guard Ish Smith, who signed on Thursday, made his debut with the Magic on Friday night. He played with Houston and Memphis last season and played briefly this season with Golden State before being waived. He was about to play with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA’s Developmental League before getting the call to return to the NBA. Smith had two rebounds and two assists in five minutes in the first half on Friday, but he also committed three fouls. … Van Gundy usually loathes to praise rookies, but he was blown away at the progress that Cleveland rookie Kyrie Irving has made so far this season. Said Van Gundy: ``This guy is the real deal. I watched four hours of film yesterday and I was astounded. I had seen snippets and seen his numbers and knew he was pretty good and then I sat down and watched him play and it was like, `This is Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams stuff.’ That’s the league he’s in already. He played like 12 college games and this guy is already the real deal. He can really, really play.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com

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