Last season, the Magic were 12-13 before Glen Davis injured his shoulder and was forced to miss the next month. He played nine more games before a broken foot shut him down for the rest of the season. He was not the same after the first injury in any case — his just-launched All-Star candidacy was made irrelevant.
Injuries were a key part of the 2012-13 season, derailing any chance of respectability record-wise and simply a good reason to leave veterans on the bench to play young guys. The feeling, it seemed, was to let guys heal completely before sending them back onto the court.
With Glen Davis still nursing that broken foot, and the complication that arose in early July that had Davis undergo a second procedure to replace a screw leaving him in a one-legged roller when we last saw him (at Summer League in Orlando). It is still unclear whether Davis will be ready to go when training camp opens at Amway Center on October 1.
Even at this stage of the calendar, it appears the Magic are not in a hurry to find out.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reported last week that the Magic will be "overly cautious" with Davis in his return from the foot injury. With the glut of power forwards — Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell and, if he is signed, Romero Osby — there is no need for Davis to rush back and risk further injuring himself.
That was much the same approach the Magic took last year with injured players. A sprained ankle seemed to have a guy out for a week. Jacque Vaughn shuffled the lineup to make up. As players went down at the end of the season, it seemed certain they would be shut down for the remainder of the season.
Al Harrington played 10 games, was deemed healthy and then shut down despite the help he could have provided at center.
This is the subtle way teams "tank," if you want to call it that. Winning is not a priority for the organization — growth and development is — and so an injured player just gives another player an opportunity.
Additionally, the Magic want to keep Davis' trade value up. It is hard to trade an injured player — particularly one that has not played since January. So it is smart for the Magic to be patient with Davis. It might be frustrating for a competitor like Davis, but that is where the Magic are right now.
We will see how long it takes for Davis to return and when the Magic are comfortable playing him.