Their presence is undoubtedly there at the end of the practices at the Advent Health Practice Facility. Hard to miss either Jonathan isaac Where Chuma okeke when they are in the building. Their size alone does this.
Isaac’s presence is obviously important, both because of his physical stature and the promise of his talent. Fans are eagerly awaiting Isaac’s return to the field 14 months after his surgery.
There are only small clues as to when he might return to court.
More immediate is the guy who sprints in the wind at the other end of the court. The promise within Chuma Okeke is also apparent, now a full season after returning from his own torn ACL.
Okeke is still trying to recover from a hip bruise that has limited him during training camp and outside of preseason games so far. It was originally listed as day to day. But Okeke stayed outside.
And it doesn’t look like Okeke will be playing until the regular season.
“I don’t think he will play this week,” coach Jamahl Mosley said after practice on Friday. “But he’s progressing all around the right timeframe for what he has in mind.”
There are few concrete updates as the Magic is always shy with the timelines or where players are in their recovery. But these absences are detrimental to the Magic.
The Orlando Magic are playing down three potential starters right now. But up front, the injuries of Jonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke are very clear.
Orlando becomes the leader, where they wait Markelle Fultzthe return. However, the Magic lacks his creative and dribbling abilities to put others in place.
Where the magic really suffers right now is at the front where the absence of Isaac and Okeke is especially felt. The team had to bundle up several options there and experiment a ton with different players as they start to look at the regular season.
Orlando pulls things together as they attempt to achieve their goal of bringing injured players back into their fold.
The only problem is, no one really knows when any of these players will return. Here is the last one:
Fultz told Spectrum Sports 360’s Luke Hetrick on media day that he did not plan to be allowed to contact until November.
Isaac has been around the media (becoming the darling of the media for some conservative media which pushes – openly and quietly – hesitation or outright rejection of the vaccine). He is entitled to his own decision, but it remains very disappointing that he favors hesitation and doubt about the vaccine in the midst of a pandemic as he has done.
Thanks to a lot of frustrating misinformation, Isaac said on The Will Cain Podcast that he can’t wait to start playing again. and would be back now if he was cleared. But his return could be further delayed, possibly in December.
The Magic is still essentially waiting for the return of three beginner-level players to the field. And it affected what the Magic may have done for the year.
So far in the preseason, the Magic have placed Franz Wagner, Moritz Wagner and Wendell Carter as attackers. The only thing they haven’t tried is to get extremely small with four wings. Don’t think it’s something that’s on the table.
While exploring the lineups with Carter at the mighty front is certainly worth it – and Carter has shown a lot of willingness to try – it has significantly limited Magic’s options to what should have been one of theirs. deepest and best positions.
The move limited the team’s ability to test Franz Wagner on a small striker or try bigger lineups in the experiments the team are trying to do – although the Wagner brothers have played around six minutes together. in two preseason games. It would be difficult to give Franz Wagner too many minutes as a small forward with the few options available to the team up front.
Orlando is extremely shorthanded there and awaits at least some relief from players returning from injury.
They don’t know when it might be – or at least don’t publicly reveal it.
Sucking Okeke back alone would do wonders in balancing the Magic. He averaged 7.8 points per game and had an effective field goal percentage of 49.2% last year in a checkered rookie year. This was expected during his first year back from a torn ACL, which kept him from playing for a season, and then continued throughout the pandemic.
It has been quite a journey. And this relatively minor setback must be viewed with some frustration. The Magics are always too careful with injuries. That’s fair considering that consistent playing time and development are key goals for the season.
But to compete and be ready for the season, they definitely need Okeke’s presence in the roster. They just need a big body to handle the position and get others to the right places.
More than anything, this will help create the versatility the team has touted in their roster. The team just doesn’t have that right now. The list is limited right now without him there.
This is part of what is so difficult to judge what the team is doing in the preseason. It is still an incomplete list.
However, each team has to fend for itself. Injuries are a reality in the NBA. There is no escaping it.
And teams have to play with the roster they have. That’s what the Magic faced last season. It can be difficult to put the list together.
By all accounts, however, Okeke’s injury won’t last that long. It’s frustrating that precious time is missing at training camp, even though he would have been doing non-contact training drills. And we still don’t know what the Magic ramp-up protocols will be.
Okeke is clearly progressing.
For the rest of this week, the Magics will try to find their way and try other things in the meantime. But that left the team in a pretty big stalemate. The one that will affect the way they play at the start of the season.
Orlando is suffering in this place right now. It’s clear and it has made things a lot harder to judge right now.
There is hope that relief will come soon. But not this week.