Denton's Notebook: Saturday, Feb. 2

By John Denton
February 2, 2013

MILWAUKEE – Already staggered by the loss of two injured starters, the Orlando Magic suffered another setback on Saturday night when veteran point guard Jameer Nelson was unable to play because of a bruised forearm.

Nelson injured his left forearm Friday in a loss in Boston when he attempted to swipe a ball out of the hands of Paul Pierce and was hit across the arm by an elbow. Nelson wore a brace over the arm Friday night and most of Saturday, but he was unable to suit up because of lingering pain and swelling.

``I’m still sore and it hurts to move it in different (directions),’’ Nelson said. ``There’s more pain than swelling, but my fingers and hand are a little bit swollen. Other than that, I’m just hanging in there.’’

Nelson was upset with himself on Friday night for going for the steal. Immediately upon getting hit, Nelson doubled over in pain and he soon headed for the locker room. X-rays on the arm showed no broken bones, but he was still left with noticeable swelling in his hand.

``I didn’t watch the video, but I know exactly what happened,’’ said Nelson, who has missed 10 games this season with a groin strain (six games), Achilles’ soreness (1 game), hip soreness (two games) and the forearm bruise (one game). ``It’s just one of those things that happens.’’

E’Twaun Moore started in place of Nelson, while Ish Smith served as the backup point guard for the Magic. Orlando plays next in Philadelphia on Monday and Nelson is hoping to return in time to play in front of the dozens of friends and family that usually attend his games there since he hails from nearby Chester, Pa.

NICHOLSON PROGRESSING: In his short time in the NBA, Orlando Magic rookie Andrew Nicholson has already faced the likes of Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Blake Griffin.

But the aspect of professional basketball that has been most surprising of all to him is the seemingly nonstop torrent of games and unforgiving nature of the NBA’s marathon schedule.

The schedule has certainly taken a toll on the Magic, knocking Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson out of action. Injuries to those players have vaulted Nicholson to the forefront for the Magic and given the rookie power forward a chance to start.

He said he feels honored to have earned the trust of head coach Jacque Vaughn to hold down a starting position. In a career-best 33 minutes as a starter on Friday night in Boston, Nicholson notched the first double-double of his pro career with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He now ranks ninth among all rookies in scoring (7.3 ppg.) and tied for 11th in rebounding (3.3 rpg.).

``It makes me feel good. It shows that I’m progressing in a positive way and I’m making a good impact on the floor,’’ Nicholson said of starting on Friday. ``We’re still as a team and we work really hard. The first unit, the second unit, we don’t back down from anything.’’

Nicholson is a part of the Magic’s ``Breakfast Club,’’ along with fellow rookies DeQuan Jones, Kyle O’Quinn and Maurice Harkless. That means he is among the first players to arrive at the team facility for practice and at the arenas on game nights to get in extra work. Saturday’s game in Milwaukee was Orlando’s 47th of the season – more games than Nicholson’s ever played in a year in college at St. Bonaventure – and he’s doing his best to get extra rest to prepare his body for the NBA grind.

``It’s kind of tough, but I’m still taking care of my body, getting good rest to prepare for the games,’’ he said. ``Before shoot around, after shoot around I’ll go take a nap and just relax as much as I can.’’

ETC: Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was highly complementary of O’Quinn, who led the Magic’s second unit late in Friday’s loss in Boston and twice forced the Celtics into timeouts. O’Quinn had 11 points and three rebounds as the Magic cut Boston’s 23-point lead to 15. O’Quinn was a plus-10 in just 7 minutes on the floor down the stretch. ``He has to play just the way that he did to finish the game in Boston – high energy, high effort and continue to just play with a pace that’s relentless,’’ Vaughn said. ``Whether it’s getting offensive rebounds, pushing a guy and diving for a ball and just being aggressive, that’s how he’s going to continue to get a chance to be on the floor.’’ … Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jim Boylan spent a chunk of his pregame session with the media discussing the growth of Magic guard J.J. Redick. Said Boylan: ``J.J. is playing great. He’s coming off pin-downs and he’s letting that thing go. He moves around as well as anybody. He is kind of like a Rip Hamilton kind of guy with his speed along the baseline and coming off pin-downs.’’ … The Magic’s nine-day, five-game roadtrip ends Tuesday night when they face the 78ers in Philadelphia. Orlando hosts the Los Angeles Clippers at the Amway Center on Wednesday night.

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