Victor Oladipo to Miss Time With Facial Fracture
Victor Oladipo was set up to have a breakout year in his second season with the Orlando Magic. Realizing that possibility will simply have to wait.
The second-year shooting guard is now out indefinitely due to a facial fracture that he suffered in a Thursday practice.
Oladipo reportedly was struck in the face accidentally with an elbow and is scheduled to undergo surgery over the weekend. There is not yet a timetable for his return, but his recovery could take several weeks, if not longer.
It’s a bit of a letdown for a young Magic squad trying to pull together to snag the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot and improve during the 2014-15 NBA season. Without Oladipo, the Magic are short at the wing and may have some issues with flow and scoring.
The show must go on, however, and that’s precisely why the Magic brought in key veterans to provide leadership and depth in free agency. Former Nuggets swing man Evan Fournier is the early bet to start in Oladipo’s place at shooting guard, while veteran sharpshooter Ben Gordon could also potentially factor into the mix.
Oladipo’s injury also means the Magic have one less versatile player that can also man the point. That means it’s mostly down to rookie point guard Elfrid Payton and veteran backup, Luke Ridnour. Ideally, the Magic could have leaned on Oladipo as the lead guard at times, but at least to start the season, that’s not something they’ll be able to do.
Naturally, with the lack of depth and versatility, Orlando’s early season projection takes quite a hit. Oladipo had his hands everywhere as a rookie when he averaged over 13 points, four assists and four rebounds per game. Replacing an athletic and explosive guard who can truly do it all is much easier said than done. Oladipo’s outside shooting will also be tough to replace, as he already was converting on 32% of his threes in year one and was bound to improve from deep.
The loss doesn’t cripple a team that probably wasn’t going to rise up and make the playoffs anyways, but it surely hurts their chances of winning a ton of games in the early going of the 2014-15 season.
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