Jonas Valanciunas has appeared in all 32 games for New Orleans this regular season – joining Nickeil Alexander-Walker as the only Pelicans with “perfect attendance” in 2021-22 – but Valanciunas will not play Thursday at Orlando (6 p.m., Bally Sports, 100.3 FM). He is one of six New Orleans players listed on Wednesday’s update as out for the Magic game, with Valanciunas sidelined due to a non-Covid illness.
The other five Pelicans players listed as out were Jose Alvarado (not with team), Jared Harper (not with team) Kira Lewis Jr. (right knee ACL/MCL sprain), Didi Louzada (league suspension) and Zion Williamson (right foot fracture).
Under normal circumstances, a team submitting an injury report with six players out would be a high number, but these are unusual times around the NBA. In advance of facing the Pelicans, Orlando has six players sidelined by health and safety protocols alone, making it a challenge for the Magic to get to the league-mandated minimum of eight players in uniform to begin games. That tally of six Orlando players in health and safety protocols (Terrence Ross, Mo Bamba, Moe Wagner, R.J. Hampton, Ignas Brazdeikis, Mychal Mulder) does not include Magic roster members who were already out of action due to injury, such as Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac and E’Twaun Moore.
PREVIOUS GAME STARTING LINEUPS
NEW ORLEANS (11-21)
Tuesday win vs. Portland
Devonte’ Graham, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, Jonas Valanciunas
Saturday win at Brooklyn
Franz Wagner, Mychal Mulder, Gary Harris, Chuma Okeke, Robin Lopez
Note: The Magic are playing at Atlanta on Wednesday in the first game of a back-to-back, prior to hosting New Orleans on Thursday
Dec. 23: at Orlando, 6 p.m.
March 9: at New Orleans, 7 p.m.
Orlando 22-19 (Pelicans won last 1)