MRI Shows Bone Irritation in Augustin's Left Knee

Magic point guard will be reevaluated in three to four weeks
by John Denton

LOS ANGELES – An MRI on Thursday backed up what Orlando Magic guard D.J Augustin thought when he woke up earlier in the week with a knot on his left knee and persistent pain: He’s going to have to take some time off to get his knee fully functional again.

Augustin underwent a second MRI in a week on Thursday and it revealed ``bone irritation’’ in the veteran point guard’s left knee. The Magic say that Augustin will be re-evaluated in three-to-four weeks and his return will be dependent on how his knee responds to rest and therapy.

``I definitely think (time off from playing) will help get me back to playing, and me playing on it right now just isn’t smart and it isn’t helping the team, so (resting the knee) is what’s best,’’ Augustin said. ``It’s going to suck (sitting out), but it’s part of the game and I’d rather get healthy and be back in time for when things really get going, like the playoffs.

``The one thing you worry about is surgery, especially with all of the guys that are out right now, due to (surgeries) and that was my main concern,’’ Augustin added. ``I’m kind of relieved, but at the same time I’m still disappointed that they’re saying four weeks (out). That’s pretty long for me.’’

Augustin’s injury is complicated by the fact that the Magic have been without reserve point guard Michael Carter-Williams since Dec. 23, and the franchise recently waived point guard Josh Magette to make room for forward Gary Clark. Carter-Williams missed his 13thstraight game on Thursday, meaning Markelle Fultz was the only healthy point guard available to play for a second straight game.

``I’m going to talk to (Magic President of Basketball Operations) Jeff (Weltman) tomorrow and we’ll get a plan going forward for that,’’ Magic coach Steve Clifford said of his squad potentially adding point guard help to the roster. ``Hopefully MCW will be back, hopefully by this weekend. Our stretches of play (on Wednesday) where we struggled were with no point guard. It’s hard to be organized and we didn’t score well at all. It makes it hard. To function, you have to have an organizer on the floor.’’

Augustin, 32 and a 12-year NBA veteran, played in the Magic’s first 38 games before having to sit out of last Friday’s 98-94 loss in Phoenix with soreness in his knee. He returned for Monday’s 114-112 victory in Sacramento, but he was limited by the pain in the knee. In hindsight, Augustin wishes he would have rested his knee instead of trying to play on it versus the Sacramento Kings.

``I went up for that little running hook and I didn’t hit rim and shot a brick,’’ Augustin recalled with a chuckle. ``But when I did that, I jumped off this leg and I must have re-aggravated it. The rest of the game I was trying to play on it, but I couldn’t really because it was very painful.’’

On the season, Augustin leads the Magic in assists (4.7 per game) and has also averaged 10.7 points and 2.4 rebounds. He’s led or tied for the team lead in scoring twice and has led the Magic in assists 19 times. He poured in a season-best 25 points at Washington on Jan. 1 and had a season-best 10 assists on Nov. 27 at Cleveland.

``I think (the bone irritation) just needs to calm down a little bit,’’ Augustin said. ``I actually felt pretty good going into (Monday’s) game and then I re-aggravated it. I’ve got to be careful, take these games (off) and try to get better in the middle of the games (with therapy) so that hopefully I can get back soon. Then, hopefully, I won’t have to keep missing games.’’

JOHNSON AND CLARK LIVING OUT THEIR DREAMS: Sitting side by side in a joyous Magic locker room late Wednesday night after helping Orlando stun LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic forwards B.J. Johnson and Gary Clark reminisced about a time when doing this very thing was but a dream that they shared.

Back in the spring of 2018, when Johnson and Clark were NBA hopefuls, they were paired together as roommates at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational. While there, they talked about what they needed to do to impress pro scouts so that they could live out their dream of someday playing in the NBA.

On Wednesday, when they played major roles in Orlando beating the Lakers 119-118 at Staples Center for one of the Magic’s most improbable victories in franchise history, they savored the irony of enjoying NBA success together on the same night.

``Gary was actually my roommate at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational, so it was a long journey for us, a different journey than most guys take,’’ said Johnson, who had nine points, three rebounds and two steals in nearly 23 minutes off the Magic’s bench. ``When Gary got (to Los Angeles on Tuesday) we just kind of caught up and, then in the game, we just kept rooting for each other. It makes it even sweeter to do this together.’’

Johnson, a standout at the G League level with the Lakeland Magic much of the season, and Clark, a 10-day contract signee earlier in the week, were pressed into duty because the Magic were missing five top-line players because of injuries. They didn’t just play – they played well against the Lakers. Clark, who spent parts of the previous two seasons with the Houston Rockets, had 10 points, four rebounds, two 3-pointers and a block in 20 minutes even though he only knew a handful of the Magic’s defensive coverages and offensive plays. At one point in the second quarter, Clark and Johnson drilled consecutive 3-pointers just 18 seconds apart to key a 13-0 burst by the Magic.

``Just watching the way (the Magic) played when I played them before (while with Houston) and seeing all the young guys who are so hungry and play the right way, it’s amazing to come out there tonight and do what we did,’’ said Clark, who had 10-day contract offers from other teams, but chose the Magic because of the good things he heard about their culture. ``I’m thankful to the coaching staff and every player here that made me feel comfortable right away, embraced me and made sure I knew what was going on – even though I looked like a chicken with my head cut off most of the possessions out there. Each guy was talking to me to make sure I knew what was going on.’’

UP NEXT: After facing the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers on consecutive nights, the Magic will get a much-needed day off on Friday.

The team was scheduled to fly after Thursday’s game from Los Angeles to San Francisco, where they will face the injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff from the new Chase Center in downtown San Francisco will be at 8:30 PM ET.

Orlando rallied in the fourth quarter last February to beat Golden State and end an 11-game losing streak to the Warriors. The Magic certainly weren’t disappointed to see Oakland’s Oracle Arena go by the wayside as they lost on their final six trips there. Orlando hasn’t won in the Bay Arena since December of 2012.

This season, Golden State has fallen on hard times with star guards Steph Curry (thumb surgery) and Klay Thompson (knee surgery) out most of the season. The Warriors went into Thursday tied with Atlanta with the fewest number of wins (nine) in the NBA.

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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