Mohamed Bamba Sits Out Against Grizzlies With Bruised Wrist

by John Denton

ORLANDO – Orlando Magic center Mohamed Bamba was held out of action on Wednesday night as a precautionary measure after suffering a bruised right wrist, but the impressive rookie refused to allow the injury to slow down the progress he’s made thus far.

Bamba, the No. 6 overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft, injured his shooting wrist in the third quarter of Monday’s loss to Miami when he was hit hard by Heat center Bam Adebayo and landed awkwardly on the floor.

Bamba was able to stay in the game, but the wrist became increasingly sore. An MRI showed no structural damage in the wrist, but he was still held out of Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies as a precaution measure.

``It was when I hit the ground and I just hit the ground awkwardly,’’ Bamba said. ``It was in the heat of the moment, so I had a lot of adrenaline (and didn’t notice the pain). I was able to finish off the game and after that it got a little sore. But it’s really just precautionary.’’

Bamba played well in his first three NBA preseason games, averaging 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.33 blocked shots. He made his first four 3-point shots before missing three tries from beyond the arc on Monday in Miami.

Bamba, who was fitted for a soft brace on his right wrist earlier in the week, said his return will be dependent on how his wrist responds to treatment. He said the mild wrist injury didn’t prevent him from getting in weight-lifting and shooting sessions on Wednesday. While he isn’t happy about having to miss a game, he said the wrist injury wasn’t about to deter him from making progress on Wednesday.

``It does (upset him), but that’s what practice is for, that’s what lifts are for,’’ Bamba said. ``My model is `gain an inch every day’ and I felt like I still gained an inch today.’’

SOMETHING TO PROVE: Off to something of a slow start in training camp, Orlando Magic forward Jarell Martin went into Wednesday night hoping to use his team’s final two exhibition games to prove something to his new squad.

Also, Martin wanted to use Wednesday to prove something to his old squad – the Magic Grizzlies.

Martin spent the first three years of his NBA career with the Grizzlies before getting traded to the Magic in July. Admittedly, Martin said he was stunned by the transaction and it took some time for him to get over being dealt by the only NBA team he had ever played for. He didn’t shy away from wanting to play well against the Grizzlies on Wednesday to show them what they lost in the offseason trade.

``It definitely sparks a fire being traded,’’ Martin said. ``I’ve definitely got a chip on my shoulder. I’m definitely ready to go out there and play them.’’

Green, a 6-foot-10, 239-pound forward known for his versatility on both ends of the floor, came into Wednesday having played just 12.6 minutes in Orlando’s first three preseason games. His best game came against Flamengo (Brazil) when he racked up six points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 17 minutes. However, turnover and foul problems have put a bit of a damper on Martin’s time on the floor thus far and he is hoping to improve on that before the regular season starts in a week.

``I feel like I haven’t showed as much of what I’m capable of doing and I’ve definitely got more to show,’’ said Martin, who averaged 7.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 73 games last season with Memphis. ``I feel like I’m still trying to adjust to the style of play here and where I can find myself more help.’’

FOURNIER FINDING HIS SHOT: Throughout his first four seasons, Evan Fournier has easily been one of the Magic’s best and most efficient shooters. However, he’s had a difficult time finding the range and touch on his shot in the Magic’s first three preseason games.

In the preseason opener in Philadelphia, Fournier had several shots rim out and he even failed to convert some of his point-blank looks in a one-of-11 shooting night. He drilled a 3-pointer and hit half of his four shots against Flamengo last Friday, but then the shooting woes returned on Monday in Miami. Against the Heat, Fournier made only two of 12 shots and misfired on an open 3-point shot in the fourth quarter that could have vaulted Orlando into the lead.

A career 44.8 percent shooter and a 37.9 percent shooter from 3-point range, Fournier said it is far too early to panic about a mini-slump in the preseason. Instead, he will rely on the work that he’s put in and his history of being an efficient shooter.

``I always watch tape, to be honest, whether it’s a good night or a bad night,’’ said Fournier, who shot 45.9 percent from the floor and 37.9 percent from 3-point range last season. ``Against Miami and Philly, I couldn’t hit a layup, but it is what it is and I’m not (worrying) about it. It’s not pleasing, and I’d rather make everything, but it’s no big deal now in the preseason.’’

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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