Denton's Notebook: February 6, 2012

By John Denton
February 6, 2012

ORLANDO – Jameer Nelson returned to the starting lineup Monday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, but the Orlando Magic are planning to ease the veteran point guard back in over the next week.

Nelson had been out the past 10 days after suffering a concussion on Jan. 27 against the New Orleans Hornets. Nelson, who took an accidental elbow to the head, said it was the third concussion that he’s suffered in his eight years in the NBA.

At least initially, the Magic plan to limit Nelson’s exposure on the floor as he works to get back into playing shape. Nelson said he had bouts with headaches and nausea the day after suffering the concussion, and he felt winded recently upon stepping up his workouts. Nelson played 5 minutes, 54 seconds in Monday’s first quarter and another 8 minutes of the second quarter.

``The plan is to try to get him to go the first 6 minutes of each quarter,’’ Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said before the game. ``That might be too much or maybe he can go longer. But I won’t go longer than that in the first half (in the three games this week), we’ll. He really hasn’t been able to do much the past 10 days, so we don’t know where his conditioning will be.’’

Nelson has struggled throughout much of this season, averaging just 8.1 points and 5.1 assists in the first 18 games of the season. Nelson is shooting 38.7 percent from the floor and 28.9 percent from 3-point range.

BIG BABY BACK: Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis returned to the active rotation Monday night following a two-game suspension for displaying conduct detrimental to the team. Davis and Van Gundy had words during the Magic’s shootaround last Friday and he was suspended from wins against Cleveland and Indiana.

Magic President of Basketball Operations/GM Otis Smith, Van Gundy and Davis met Monday morning to discuss the incident. Davis, who signed a four-year, $26 million contract with the Magic in December, is a fiery, emotional player and his outburst was hardly his first this season.

Davis left Boston for Orlando where he hoped to be a starter with the Magic, but instead has been a backup power forward and center. Van Gundy thinks that Davis’ outburst was the result of his frustration of how his time in Orlando has gone so far.

``I had a good talk with him this morning and he’s coming back in a good frame of mind,’’ Van Gundy said. ``I’ve said this before and after the suspension, he’s a guy who wants to do the right thing and help the team win. But it’s been frustrating for him. It’s the first time he’s been through a change of teams and he wanted things to go well right off the bat and sometimes that doesn’t happen.

``He’s gotten some frustration with his role and being with a new team and that frustration has boiled over,’’ Van Gundy continued. ``I’ve never thought for a second that he’s a bad guy or anything else. I think he comes back in the frame of mind that he wants to get back in there and help us.’’

J-RICH’S RETURN TO FORM: Much of the credit for the Magic’s resurgence of late is due to the return of shooting guard Jason Richardson, who missed two games during the Magic’s losing streak because of a bone bruise in his left knee.

The time off appears to have done Richardson some good as he returned to score 19 points on Friday against Indiana and 17 points on Saturday against Indiana.

Richardson’s numbers this season had fallen off dramatically when playing on back-to-back nights, but Richardson said that his legs felt better than ever following the three-day break to heal his sore left knee.

``I wasn’t healthy the last four or five games with that knee bruise, and I needed those two games off that Coach gave me to get healthy,’’ Richardson said. ``It’s feeling great and I’ve giving it my all.’’

Richardson said the Magic’s win in Indiana – a game in which they had to travel through Cincinnati and were playing for a sixth time in eight nights – showed that there is plenty of fight and character in this Magic team.

``We went on a little slide a couple of weeks ago, but we’re trying to get our team back together,’’ Richardson said. ``(The Indiana victory) was a big win, a win that could turn our season around and send us on a win streak.’’

ETC: A large portion of the Magic’s team meeting prior to Monday’s game against the Clippers was spent on addressing the team’s problems with the officials of late. The Magic were whistled for six technical fouls in Saturday’s win and Quentin Richardson was ejected for shoving Danny Granger. Magic star center Dwight Howard is second in the league with seven technical fouls, while teammates Hedo Turkoglu (three), Davis (three), Richardson (two) and J.J. Redick (two) have multiple technical fouls this season. Said Van Gundy, who has yet to be whistled for a technical foul and made a concerted effort to quiet some of his negativity: ``I thought early in the season we were doing a good job of holding our composure. But there’s been some slippage and (the technical fouls) have been a problem. We’ve got to get back to not thinking so much about the calls and keep our focus on the game.’’ … Van Gundy joked that the Magic were doing Nelson no favors by bringing him back in a game against a Clippers team with four standout point guards. Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are starters, while Mo Williams and Randy Foye have played well off the bench. Said Van Gundy: ``We thought we’d being Jameer back in an easy game.’’ … The Magic’s next two games are against division foes and primary rivals – Wednesday against the Miami Heat and Friday against the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic split four games with the Heat last season, while the Hawks eliminated the Magic from the first round of the playoffs in six games.

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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