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Magic one step forward, another step back with injuries


Kim Klement/USA TODAY

Jacque Vaughn said he has only one Christmas wish this Holiday season. He wants a healthy team starting Dec. 26. That should not be too much to ask, right?

Arron Afflalo appears on track to play tonight against the Kings after missing Wednesday's game and Thursday's practice with an illness. But the downside to having the time to practice is that more injuries can pop up. Vaughn said Magic backup point guard E'Twaun Moore suffered a thigh contusion in practice and is out for Saturday's matchup with the Kings.

"No real mood, it's just part of the game," Afflalo said. "It's part of the NBA game. Injuries happen. The idea is to get through it as best you can and hopefully be healthy at the right point in time."

Last year, the Magic suffered through a lot of injuries and trotted out 28 different starting lineups. This year already, the Magic have had seven different starting lineups. Only Andrew Nicholson and Victor Oladipo have appeared in every Magic game this season, with E'Twaun Moore slated to miss his first game this season tonight.

It seems that every time the Magic are about to get all their bodies back healthy, something comes in to throw a wrench in all those plans. It is difficult to find a rhythm with all the lineup and rotation changes.

"I think it is good about keeping guys engaged and keeping guys ready to play," Jacque Vaughn said. "When there is a chance that you'll get into the game, the likelihood of preparation is better. We would rather not have guys get hurt but that's part of this business."

Getting Afflalo back will be a big boost however. The Magic struggled offensively Wednesday without him and the team, while not making any excuses, said they missed the 20-plus points per game he typically provides.

The Magic will need the offense against a Kings team with a bevy of offensive options in guys like DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas among others. This Sacramento team shot 58.1 percent from the floor last night in Miami and lost.

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Afflalo got through Friday's practice and Saturday's shootaround with no problem. But Afflalo admitted returning to the court is a bit of an unknown after missing a few days with an illness.

"I haven't really pushed my body since we flew back," Afflalo said. "It's probably that initial lactic acid that builds up. I think I'll be fine. Whatever it is, I'll just fight through it and hopefully I'll be able to perform well."

Afflalo missing the game especially hurt. He was looking forward to this six-game homestand as a way to build some wins and confidence for the rest of the season. He said he is excited to get back on the court and try to accomplish that goal again.

Because if there is one thing Afflalo and the other Magic players want most this Christmas, it is a few more wins.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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