Denton: Turk Was Nervous in Return


By John Denton
December 30, 2012

 

ORLANDO – Hedo Turkoglu has played in nearly 1,000 regular season and postseason games throughout his 13-year NBA career, yet minutes before Saturday’s tipoff the Orlando Magic’s veteran small forward experienced something he hasn’t felt in years.

``I was nervous a little bit,’’ Turkoglu admitted before offering up a somewhat embarrassed laugh. ``I’ve never been out this much, like two months of being out injured, so I was a little nervous. After that, I was OK, though.’’

The Magic (12-18) are hoping that the long-awaited return of Turkoglu from a broken bone in his left hand will help them stem the tide of injuries that have beset the team. Orlando had to play without Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis (sprained shoulder), Jameer Nelson (sore hip) and E’Twaun Moore (sprained left elbow) on Saturday night against Toronto, and all three could be out again on Monday afternoon against the defending champion Miami Heat (20-8). Tipoff at the Amway Center is just after 5 p.m.

Turkoglu played Saturday for the first time in eight weeks after battling through the hand injury. He injured the hand in the third quarter of the season-opening defeat of the Denver Nuggets and missed the next 28 games. He was originally projected to miss four-to-six weeks, but his return took eight weeks after some of the screws in his surgically repaired left hand shifted and a cast had to be reapplied.

The long layoff ruined what was a promising start to the season for Turkoglu. Now 33 years old, Turkoglu reported to training camp trim, in great shape and determined to have a great season. And he proved just that with some stellar play in the preseason while thriving in new coach Jacque Vaughn’s freedom-of-movement offense.

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