Injury Update: Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross
by Dan Savage

ORLANDO -- The Orlando Magic found out that they’ll be without Terrence Ross in contract drills for the near future in training camp, but the hope is that it won’t be for too long.

After experiencing some discomfort in his left first metatarsal (big toe), an MRI has revealed a minor, non-displaced, hairline fracture. Ross will continue to take part in non-contact practice activities and will continue to be evaluated. His return to full contact work will depend on how he responds to treatment.

“I’m still shooting through that,” said Ross, who’ll be able to continue to shoot spot-ups as he recovers. “The pain is not crazy enough where I can’t shoot, or I can’t get out there and get my shots up. I’ll still get my lifts, I’ll still get my conditioning, I’ll still get my shots up, so I feel good.”

Ross suffered the injury when another player stepped on his foot during scrimmages.

“Coming into camp, I felt great,” Ross said. “I got a little injury, a little boo-boo, but I’ll be all right. I can play through it, I’ll be fine. I’m still feeling good.”

Orlando will need its star sixth man in the lineup if it hopes to make a push for the postseason for the third straight season in an ever-improving Eastern Conference.

Ross averaged 14.7 points per game off the pine last season, good for ninth-best in the league among players coming off the bench (minimum 20 games).

Nicknamed the Human Torch for his ability to instantly catch fire from long range, Orlando was 7-2 last season in games where Ross knocked down at least five threes.

“We rarely win when he doesn’t score,” Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford said. “The other part is, he’s in the conversation of offensive players off the bench, who deliver every night. If you look at the consistency he’s played with and if you look at our best stretches of play – the last thirty-one games two years ago and then the stretch this year from the All-Star break to play stoppage where we played well – he was our second-highest scorer in both of those stretches.”

The 29-year-old shooting guard drained 177 triples in total during the 2019-20 campaign, a year after becoming the first player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers in a season (217 total) without starting in a single game – a feat he could have accomplished again had the NBA completed a full 82-game schedule. To give additional perspective, in Rashard Lewis’ first two seasons with the Magic (2007-08 & 08-09) where he ranked No. 1 in 3-pointers made during that span, he did so averaging 223 triples per season.

“He’s so valuable to our team and I would also say, to add to that, is what’s impressive is the other teams are locked into him,” Clifford said. “When you’re game planning for the Magic, it’s going to start with (Nikola Vucevic) and then it’s going to go right to him. Those are the guys that get double-teamed, they get the second defender run at them more, and yet he’s still been able to play very, very consistently.”

The Magic not only rely on Ross’ ability to stretch the floor, but also wreak havoc on opposing defensive coverages. Ross led the league last season in off-screen points, posting 297, 70 more than Joe Harris, who finished second in this category.

“We call him the Human Torch for a reason,” Evan Fournier said with a smile. “T-Ross is one of the best sixth men in the league. He’s obviously extremely important for us. He’s coming off the bench, but he really is a starter. And more than his shooting and scoring ability is the energy he brings to the team. He’s a great teammate.”

With Orlando’s first of four preseason games tipping off on Friday night, a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, the hope is the Magic won’t be without Ross for long.

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