Glen Davis after hitting the floor on Monday night (Getty Images)
The 2012-13 Orlando Magic were put together under terrible terms. The team was built under the leadership of the former GM and current CEO, two men in Otis Smith and (especially) Alex Martins that wanted to appease current Los Angeles Laker disappointment Dwight Howard. As a result, the roster is littered with players that were acquired both in reaction to Howard’s whims or in reaction to those reactions, which usually come in the form of bad contracts or dodgy players that were sent back so that the Magic could clear yet another terrible contract.
Glen Davis was in the middle of all that, a forward helper acquired before 2011-12 in order to make Dwight Howard happy. In spite of the fact that Dwight Howard will never be happy. In Howard’s absence, though, Glen has played the best basketball of his career. He remains mercurial, but he’s also done fine work on both ends in helping the Magic remain somewhat respectable during a tough rebuilding year. Unfortunately for the banger, and the franchise, Davis fractured his left foot on Wednesday, and he’ll be out for the remainder of the season.
Davis suffered the injury as the Magic transitioned into their offense. As Davis ran down the court, he appeared to step on one of Iman Shumpert's feet. Davis was subbed out 4 minutes, 20 seconds into the game, went to the locker room and didn't return to the Madison Square Garden floor.
Davis is averaging 15.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season, both career highs.
He also missed 11 games earlier this season after he dislocated his left shoulder on Dec. 19.
The Magic have lost 18 of the 20 games since he suffered his shoulder injury.
"It's really unfortunate, because I know he looked forward to this year," coach Jacque Vaughn said. "[It's] new territory for him. So it's really unfortunate for him to be hurt this year multiple times, but it's a good test for him going forward."
Davis' absence will result in more playing time for youngsters Gustavo Ayón, Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn and perhaps also for veterans Josh McRoberts and Hedo Turkoglu.
Without being flip, it’s hard to consider this injury without bringing up what guard J.J. Redick told the press last week about how “the basketball gods are against” the Orlando Magic. Even the team’s bright spots can’t help but fracture things.
It truly isn’t fair. Magic fans were held hostage by both Brian Hill’s iffy play-calling and Shaquille O’Neal’s dreams of C-level Hollywood stardom in the mid-1990s. The team smartly cleared cap space to sign both Grant Hill (a top-five and sometimes top-three player during 1999-00) and Tracy McGrady in 2000, only to watch as Hill’s ankle fell apart (due to his persistence on acting the good guy and playing through injury). A terrible GM in John Weisbrod then traded McGrady for pennies on the dollar, even though he did rightly select Dwight Howard and deal for Jameer Nelson in the 2004 draft. Howard led the team past LeBron James and into the 2009 NBA Finals, but a series of good moves by the team’s GM in Otis Smith backfired, he compounded those with the crummy moves that dotted his first few years as GM, and young personnel boss Rob Hennigan was left to clean the Dwight Howard-led mess up with absolutely no leverage on his side.
The team started well, winning 12 of its first 25 games. It has responded, in no small part to Davis being injured for part of the swoon, by losing 18 of its last 20. Davis’ absence doesn’t figure to remedy that.
It truly isn’t fair, and we feel for what for years has been one of the stronger fan bases in the NBA. Magic fans (well, at least the ones that didn’t rant in my email inbox back in 1998) were the ones that knew that Darrell Armstrong should be starting at point guard, with Anfernee Hardaway moving to shooting guard. They wanted Howard over Emeka Okafor. They knew that McGrady could someday work on the same level as a Grant Hill. They didn’t think Howard was someone to be trusted. They understood Stan Van Gundy, and they loathed the front office.
It’s a small story, the loss of an average player on a bad basketball team. It’s also the loss of one of the few bright spots that a team’s fan base and followers deserve as it works its way through an 82-game whuppin’. For both Magic followers and general observers, Glen Davis’ injury just doesn’t seem appropriate.
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