Markelle Fultz and Moe Wagner Also Practice with the Team
ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic may have a little bit more to be thankful for this upcoming holiday.
The Magic received some good news on the injury front as rookie Paolo Banchero practiced with the team on Wednesday. His status for Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers will be determined based on his response to the practice session and treatment.
"I'm feeling good," said Banchero. "It was good just to get back. It's been a while. A lot of observing. So, I was just happy to be out there."
The 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward has missed the last seven games after spraining his left ankle late in the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 7.
The injury interrupted a sensational start to the season for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Banchero currently leads all first-year players in points (23.5) and rebounds (8.3) per game, while ranking second in assists (3.6) per contest.
"I was in a good rhythm for sure," said Banchero. "I definitely felt like I was improving every game (and) just learning. After every game, I was watching a lot of film with the coaches and I just felt a gradual improvement. It sucks that I got hurt in the middle of playing well like that, but I'm looking forward to coming back whenever I do and just picking up where I left off."
There's also a possibility that Wagner could return on Friday based on how his body responds to the session and treatment. The 6-foot-11 center has missed all 18 of the team’s regular season matchups after spraining his right midfoot in the Magic’s final preseason game on Oct. 14 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wagner played in 63 contests with Orlando last season, averaging 9.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game.
Point guard Markelle Fultz continues to progress in his rehab, but is not expected to make his return on Friday. Fultz missed all of training camp, the preseason and the start to the team’s 2022-23 campaign after he suffered a fracture in his big left toe this offseason.
Fultz played in 18 games last season with Orlando, averaging 10.8 points, 5.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 20.0 minutes per game.