The Orlando Magic have struggled to open 2019-20 and will apparently be shorthanded moving forward.
All-Star center Nikola Vucevic was diagnosed with a right lateral ankle sprain and will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the injury should sideline Vucevic for a month. The Magic are currently 6-8, but are 0-5 on the road after falling to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Vucevic and forward Aaron Gordon both suffered right ankle injuries in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game. Vucevic used two crutches to leave the locker room afterward, while Gordon had one.
Vucevic is averaging 17.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game this season after posting 20.8 ppg, 12.0 rpg and 3.8 apg last season en route to his first All-Star appearance.
He came in as the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 21.7 points, 14.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.33 blocks during Orlando’s winning streak. He went down along his own baseline with 5:29 left in the second after injuring his ankle while trying to defend Norman Powell’s drive to the basket.
”It was really painful,” Vucevic said. ”It was hard for me to put any pressure on [it].”
Vucevic had to be helped to the locker room, unable to put weight on his right leg.
Orlando has second-year center Mo Bamba and third-year big man Khem Birch ready to fill in, but coach Steve Clifford said there’s no doubt his team will miss Vucevic.
”When you lose your best player, it’s hard to say you have more than enough,” Clifford said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.