Denton's Notebook: Wednesday, Jan. 16

By John Denton
January 16, 2013

ORLANDO – When he was out of action for three-plus weeks, Orlando Magic power forward Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis said there was as much pain in his heart and his mind than in the left shoulder that he badly sprained on Dec. 19.

In the midst of his best season as a pro, Davis said not being on the floor and not being around his teammates was extremely painful for him. Instead of simply sitting around and watching road games on television, Davis would often get in his car and listen on the radio or instead get in a rehabilitation session while the game was going on. Watching from afar, he said, proved to be just too painful.

Davis returned to action on a limited basis on Monday and he was reinserted into the starting lineup on Wednesday night when the Magic hosted the Indiana Pacers. Davis made six of eight shots and scored 13 points in his return, proving that he was ready for more minutes. Davis, who said there was no lingering pain following Monday’s game, said he surprised himself with how well he shot the ball after being away so long.

``I did the necessary things after the game to get (the shoulder) where it needs to be. It feels good,’’ Davis said. ``I just felt normal out there and at peace. I’ve been out for a while and have been waiting to get back. For my first game back I felt pretty good, but I was nervous. But then I was calm like I had been there before.

``My agent said that I look like a professional,’’ Davis continued. ``It’s just one day at a time. I’m still doing the rehab making sure that the ligaments around that area are strong.’’

MORE EXPERIENCE, MORE STRENGTH: With Davis out, the Magic were forced to turn to rookie Andrew Nicholson as a starter at power forward. Offensively, the rookie has more than held his own while averaging 9.9 points on solid shooting.

But defensively, Nicholson has struggled mightily against some of the game’s best power forwards. In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. In Denver, Kenneth Faried had 19 points and 19 rebounds against the Magic. And in Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 30 points in three quarters before the Clippers inexplicably stopped going to him down the stretch.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he’s looking forward to a time when Nicholson, a first-year player out of St. Bonaventure, has more strength. Also, a second and third time around against some of the elite players should make him better equipped defensively.

``As he gets older he’ll get stronger and wiser and he’ll get more experience,’’ Vaughn said. ``Our strength coach (Joe Rogowski) will love him even more this offseason. He’ll be able to battle a little more and he’ll be wiser playing against guys his fourth, fifth or sixth time around. No matter how much tape you look at until you get out there and see how powerful (Washington’s) Nene is. He is a strong individual, he’ll watch film and he’ll get better as time goes.’’

ETC: Magic reserve center Gustavo Ayon did not travel with the team on its most recent road trip and missed his seventh consecutive game with a thigh contusion. Vaughn said that Ayon, who worked out at the team facility on Wednesday, is making progress, but isn’t yet ready to return. … Quite possibly no player is happier about the return of Davis than Magic center Nikola Vucevic, whose rebounding has risen dramatically over the past three weeks. Vucevic said Davis’ muscle and hustle makes life easier for him on the inside when he’s going against other rugged big men. ``It will be a huge boost, not just for me, but for the whole team,’’ Vucevic said of getting Davis back. ``He’s a big body in there and he helps on the board. We play really well together on defense. Right before he got hurt, that’s when we started playing well together. So hopefully we can get that get that going again.’’ … The Magic are in the midst of a three-game home stand. They host the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night at the Amway Center.

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