Believe it or not, we are less than one month away from the first Magic preseason game. Orlando will open training camp on October 1 and open the preseason in Mexico City against New Orleans on October 7. So how will we get ready? By counting down to the beginning of the season on November 2 against Denver. Let's continue:
There is actual news I guess ahead of the opening of training camp on October 1. Wow, that date is coming up fast.
Unfortunately, it is coming too fast for several Magic players. And considering the team is focusing on player development, making sure the players are ready to contribute and play in practice is probably more important than anything else.
Still, it is bad news to hear that Ish Smith, Maurice Harkless and Al Harrington will miss time during training camp and potentially the beginning of the season.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reported Smith and Harkless are likely to miss all of training camp and the beginning of the regular season as they recover from offseason surgery. In addition, Harrington could miss all of training camp as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. All three of those players are expected to play rotation roles for the Magic this season.
Harkless particularly is a big part of the Magic's future plans as he has a lot of potential the magic want to assess and evaluate. Harrington too is pretty important because his contract and his ability to contribute off the bench are stuff that could become valuable on the trade market.
Schmitz reports that it is not anticipated that they will miss significant time. They should all be back by mid-November. Their injuries are not major concerns and should not be anything that lingers.
Harkless had surgery to repair a sports hernia in mid-August. The injury actually slowed him up in Philadelphia's appearance at the team's summer league games in Orlando. Sports hernias are not typically anything to worry about, but famously Grant Hill had a sports hernia in 2006 and struggled to get back on the floor. That was highly unusual, but it is better to be safe than sorry especially with a player you want to be learning.
Smith had surgery to repair a torn labrum in late July. He should be able to fully recover. Jameer Nelson tore the labrum in his shoulder in 2009. This was the injury that kept him out of the Playoffs that season. The severity of the injury can determine how long the player is out. So it does not appear Smith's injury is as serious as Nelson's was three years ago.
Harrington underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in May. But, as Schmitz reports, Harrington's recovery was delayed after an infection developed in his knee.
With Orlando not necessarily focusing on winning and thinking about player development, allowing these injuries to recover fully is probably in the team's best interest.
It likely means Andrew Nicholson will get his opportunity in games early in the season and much earlier than anticipated. It means Quentin Richardson will be part of the opening night rotation. And it means E'Twaun Moore or Dequan Jones are likely battling for a roster spot on opening day throughout camp.
The plot thickens as always, 41 days until tip off.