D.J. Augustin nearing return, could be back Saturday

MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 1: D.J. Augustin #14 of the Orlando Magic goes to the basket against the Memphis Grizzlies on November 1, 2017 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 1: D.J. Augustin #14 of the Orlando Magic goes to the basket against the Memphis Grizzlies on November 1, 2017 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

D.J. Augustin is nearing a return from a strained hamstring that has knocked him out of the last seven games. He is hopeful to return Saturday.

The Orlando Magic have seemingly been scrambling since the second game of the season. The team has not been at full strength since Elfrid Payton injured his hamstring. And while Elfrid Payton has returned, he is clearly getting back to form.

The team is still scrambling for consistency at point guard after D.J. Augustin injured his hamstring a few weeks ago against the Memphis Grizzlies.

There may still be an adjustment period, but it appears Augustin is creeping closer to coming back. And, for once, the Magic may have their full complement of players soon.

Augustin told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel after the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers he is close to returning and hopes to be back for Saturday’s game against the Utah Jazz.

According to Robbins, Augustin ran full court for the first time Wednesday. From there, it seems like it is only a matter of time before he returns. But Augustin admitted he wants to take things slowly and not push too far. Hamstring injuries are notoriously tricky.

Payton had a similar strain to his hamstring and still is experiencing a few setbacks. Rest and treatment are still important.

Augustin returned to practice Friday. Admittedly, he told John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, he needed to get his feet under him. But there is optimism Augustin will be back this weekend:

"“It felt good, but I’m still trying to get my legs under me because I haven’t practiced in two weeks,” Augustin said following Friday’s session. “I’m trying to get my conditioning and my legs up, but the hamstring felt pretty good. I’ve been doing some conditioning of late and I’m trying to get my wind up. There will be a little rust, but by the time I play I’ll hopefully have my rhythm back.”"

Augustin’s return will be a welcome sight. The Magic have lost five of seven games since he went out against the Grizzlies. The team has been scrambling to fill the gap and get consistent play at point guard.

Augustin is averaging 8.3 points per game and 5.1 assists per game in 22.5 minutes per game. He is shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc. The Magic have a team-best 113.3 offensive rating with Augustin on the floor and a +12.5 net rating. Orlando played its best with Augustin on the floor.

It is hard to see Augustin maintaining that level of play. But it is not likely he would fall off that much either. The Magic will still be ramping up with Payton coming back. Adding Augustin back will take some adjusting too.

But Orlando has clearly missed Augustin and his ability to attack and score. More than that, the Magic have not been whole. Augustin will get the Magic that much closer.

Next: Fournier on the edge, a barometer of movement

The last piece will be getting Jonathan Isaac back from his sprained ankle. That may still be a few games away. But closer than maybe everyone expects.