Gordon Remains in NBA's Concussion Protocol, Out Tonight vs. Clippers

By John Denton
Dec. 13, 2017

ORLANDO – An Orlando Magic team already beset by injuries took something of another hit on Wednesday morning when Aaron Gordon was ruled out for tonight’s game and the standout forward will remain in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

Gordon, who suffered a concussion on Friday when he ran face-first into the shoulder of Denver guard Gary Harris, hoped to play tonight when the Magic (11-17) host the Los Angeles Clippers (10-15).

Per the NBA’s concussion protocol, Gordon was required to clear a series of tests without showing symptoms stemming from the concussion. After successfully making it through bike work, jogging and non-contact drills the past three days, Gordon hoped he would be ready for tonight’s home game.

Instead, the decision was made to withhold the Magic’s 22-year-old leading scorer (18.5 ppg.) and he will remain in the NBA’s concussion protocol. He will need to be cleared by an independent physician before he is allowed to return to game action. Orlando’s next game is Friday at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The continued absence is another blow to a Magic team already without forward Evan Fournier (ankle sprain), guard Terrence Ross (knee sprain) and rookie Jonathan Isaac (ankle sprain). Also, veteran guard Arron Afflalo – who started the past two games in place of Fournier – is questionable because of lingering pain and stiffness from back spasms.

Magic coach Frank Vogel said his team still has enough depth and talent to be competitive and potentially win – something that was proven in a narrow loss in Atlanta on Saturday.

``We know that and that’s why we have a 15-man roster and some G League guys,’’ Vogel said. ``Our guys understand that the NBA is very rarely a full-strength game and you’ve got to go out and find a way to win anyway.’’

The injuries have hit at a time when the Magic hoped to take advantage of a soft spot in their schedule and rack up some wins. However, the Magic dropped games to Denver and Atlanta over the weekend and even after having three off days, they will head into tonight’s game against the Blake Griffin-less Clippers extremely short-handed.

``It’s two teams dealing with a lot of injuries, but the key for us is playing unselfish, playing together and keeping everybody involved,’’ said Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who registered the first triple-double of his career on Saturday in Atlanta. ``With guys out, we can’t have certain guys trying to do too much and overdoing things. We still have to play the right way and step up our defense.’’

In an attempt to try and fortify their roster, the Magic recalled Jamel Artis and Adreian Payne from their G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. The two practiced with the Magic on Tuesday and then played major roles in Lakeland’s 117-116 defeat of the Windy City Bulls later that night in Polk County.

Payne played 30 minutes and had 26 points and eight rebounds while making 11 of 17 shots. Artis, who had the assist to Rodney Purvis for the game-winning jump shot, played 34 minutes and had 22 points and three 3-pointers.

Artis, a University of Pittsburgh product, will be making his debut in a NBA jersey tonight.

``It’s definitely an exciting experience because I’ve wanted to be here my whole life and play with these guys I have been watching,’’ Artis said. ``Just watching them prepare for the game and (going through) shootaround, I’m taking the extra steps to try and continue my goal (of reaching the NBA full-time).’’

Not having Gordon tonight will be a huge letdown for the Magic considering how he played against the Clippers last season. In a December meeting at the Amway Center, Gordon made 13 of 21 shots, including four of eight 3-pointers, in a 33-point, seven-rebound effort against the Clippers. Three weeks later in Los Angeles, Gordon burned the Clippers for 28 points by making 11 of 17 shots and four of eight 3-point shots.

This season, Gordon is averaging career highs in scoring (18.5 ppg.), rebounding (8.1 rpg.), assists (2.2 apg.), steals (1.0 spg.) and blocks (0.9 bpg.). He scored a career-best 41 points on Oct. 24 against Brooklyn and had another 40 points on Nov. 29 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s twice made game-winning 3-point shots: Oct. 24 against the Nets and Nov. 1 in Memphis.

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