Denton: Davis Close to Returning


By John Denton
January 12, 2013

LOS ANGELES – For the past week, Glen Davis has been 3,000 miles away from his Orlando Magic coaches and teammates as he stayed back in Orlando and continued to rehabilitate his sprained left shoulder.

But even though Davis has been far away from the team, he’s remained in their thoughts. And the hope now is that Davis is making enough progress that he can soon rejoin the team as the starting power forward.

Davis dislocated his left shoulder in the final seconds of a victory against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 19. Tests revealed no major structural damage in the shoulder and Davis has spent the past three-plus weeks working to rehabilitate and strengthen the sprain in his shoulder.

``Progressing, he’s getting shots up, nothing negative and conditioning-wise he’s improving,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said of the reports on Davis.

The Magic were 12-13 and riding a four-game winning streak at the time of Davis’ injury, but they have fallen on hard times since their fiery power forward hit the floor last month. What made Davis’ injury so difficult for the Magic was that the power forward was enjoying the best season of his pro career. At the time of his injury he was averaging 16 points and 7.9 rebounds a game, while leading the team in scoring and rebounding 10 times apiece.

When the Magic get Davis back in the rotation it will be a huge lift for the squad, fellow power forward Kyle O’Quinn said.

``Glen can make a lot of difference for us because he did so many little things for this team,’’ said O’Quinn, a rookie who has had to helped fill Davis’ void the past three weeks. ``Not only points and rebounds, but he brought us together for things that we needed. He’s always been that voice that we needed and made a solid impact. So when he comes back, it will be great for us.’’

TURK GETTING IN WORK: Some 90 minutes before tipoff on Saturday, Hedo Turkoglu had a full lather of sweat worked up and he was going from zone to zone while getting up jump shots.

But that was the extent of work for Turkoglu on Saturday as the team once again held him out of action as he continues to try and improve his conditioning. Turkoglu broke a bone in his left hand in the season-opener and needed the next eight weeks for the hand to heal properly.

That time away greatly impacted Turkoglu’s timing and physical conditioning. In his five games back, Turkoglu struggled mightily with his shot (25 percent shooting) and seemed to be favoring his left hand. And on several occasions he has had the hand whacked, causing him extreme pain.

Vaughn, a NBA player himself for 12 seasons before becoming a coach, said he fully understands how difficult it is to come back from an injury. Vaughn made the decision that the Magic should shelve Turkoglu’s comeback for the time being until his hand and conditioning improve.

``I talked about at the beginning of the year and when guys were hurt that I always want to put them back on the floor when they’re comfortable and confident and have rhythm,’’ Vaughn said. ``I just think it’s best for us to take that approach with Turk until he gets right. I did it with other guys, and I think it’s just best for us to take that approach, and he deserves that approach.’’

ETC: Saturday’s game was a reunion of star-crossed former Magic players at Staples Center. Shaquille O’Neal, who spent the first four years of his NBA career with the Magic and still lives in suburban Orlando, attended the game and sat courtside. Grant Hill, who battled through a broken ankle much of his seven years in Orlando from 2000-07, made his 2013 debut for the Clippers on Saturday following two knee surgeries in the past 18 months. Said Hill: ``I used to be a foot and ankle specialist. Now I’m having to deal with my knee. It’s been crazy.’’ … Several Magic players and coaches got to use the extended stay in Los Angeles as a homecoming. The team was off in Los Angeles on Thursday, allowing Los Angeles natives Arron Afflalo and Vaughn to go back home and see family. Also, Nikola Vucevic – who went to high school in Simi Valley and college at USC – said he got to see several friends and he bought more than $500 in extra tickets for the game. … The last time the Magic were in Staples Center they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers and former Orlando center Dwight Howard with a thrilling fourth-quarter performance for the ages. But Vaughn shot down the notion that he was hit with memories of that game when he walked into Staples Center. Said Vaughn: ``Today is the Clippers game. It’s today’s game and it’s all that matters.’’ … The Magic end their nine-day, four-day road trip on Monday in Washington against the Wizards. The team will fly from Los Angeles to Washington after Saturday’s game and hold a practice on Sunday.

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