Denton: Turk Out Three Weeks With Facial Fractures

By John Denton
April 6, 2012

ORLANDO – Cut across the cheekbone after getting hit by a Carmelo Anthony elbow, Hedo Turkoglu went to bed Thursday night fully expecting to wake up on Friday with a black eye and a nasty scar.

But when he arose Friday morning with a bloody nose and a throbbing headache, Turkoglu knew something was wrong.

A CT scan ultimately revealed three facial fractures that will require surgery on Saturday morning that will likely knock Turkoglu out of action for the rest of the regular season. The hope, Turkoglu said on Friday night, is to be back by the start of the playoffs, if not a couple of days before.

``Hopefully everything goes well in the surgery and I’ll be OK and after a week or so I’ll be able to do conditioning work and get back on the court,’’ Turkoglu said. ``The doctor thinks after about 10 days that I can rejoin the team. I’m hoping to play in the last couple of regular season games and then be ready for the playoffs.’’

The injury is the latest crippling blow for Orlando (32-23), which plays in Philadelphia on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The Magic, losers of five games in a row, didn’t have Dwight Howard (back spasms), Ryan Anderson (sprained ankle), Jameer Nelson (calf strain) and Quentin Richardson (stiff back) in games this week because of injuries.

Throw in Turkoglu’s pending surgery and the recent drama surrounding head coach Stan Van Gundy and Howard, and the Magic are suddenly a steam wondering where this season went sideways.

``It’s like it never ends right now with the injuries to Dwight, Jameer, Ryan and now my injury,’’ Turkoglu said. ``It’s almost like there are black clouds over the Magic right now. But hopefully I’ll be back soon and we can play well in the playoffs.’’

Quentin Richardson will start at small forward on Saturday if his back injury is well enough. If Richardson can’t play, J.J. Redick will start at shooting guard and Jason Richardson will move over to the small forward position. Earl Clark, naturally a power forward, could also see time at small forward is necessary.

Turkoglu went down in a heap midway through Thursday’s second quarter when Anthony flung his elbow back on a drive to the hoop and hit the Magic small forward in the face. A cut across the cheekbone immediately produced blood and required three stitches to close. But Turkoglu said there was little pain at all, so X-rays were not immediately conducted.

``There was no dizziness, no damage to my eye and no memory loss at all, so we didn’t do a scan because they didn’t think it was that bad,’’ Turkoglu said. ``But when I woke up with a bloody nose, I told (Athletic trainer) Keon (Wise) and we set up the CT scan.’’

Turkoglu will undergo surgery Saturday morning and doctors have told him the plan is to implant a plate over the fractured areas in his face. The hope is that if the procedure goes off without a hitch that he will be able to return for the final two regular-season games on April 25 and 26 or by the start of the playoffs on April 28 or 29.

Turkoglu is averaging 10.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 52 games this season. He scored a season-best 23 points earlier in the season in a defeat of Houston and he’s had nine assists three times this year. Turkoglu had seven points and three rebounds on Thursday against the Knicks before leaving the game injured.

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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