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Franz Wagner still out as Magic fall at Atlanta

ATLANTA — Although Franz Wagner missed his seventh consecutive contest Wednesday night as the Magic (22-19) lost 106-104 at the buzzer to the Hawks (17-23) at State Farm Arena, the Orlando forward could return to the court in the near future.

Wagner is continuing to progress in his rehab after he sprained his right ankle Jan. 3 at Sacramento, according to Magic coach Jamahl Mosley.

“It’s a great feeling to know that he’s going to be back in the fold at some point sooner than later,” Mosley said before Wednesday’s game. “It’s really good.”

The end of the game and the 1-3 trip weren’t good, however.

Dejounte Murray hit a 17-foot jumper as time expired to give the Hawks the victory. In a game that was tight all the way, it was only appropriate that it came down to the final shot.

After Magic forward Paolo Banchero (26 points) made a 3-pointer from a couple of feet beyond the arc to tie it at 104 with 8.4 seconds left, the Hawks inbounded to Murray and let him go to work. He dribbled down the left wing against Markelle Fultz (12 points), pulled up and swished the jumper to finish off a 26-point night.

Prior to Orlando’s third meeting with the Hawks this season, the Magic had gone 3-3 without Wagner on the floor.

Mosley said Wagner has done only individual work such as shooting and dribbling but hasn’t hit full-contact yet. Typically, full contact is the precursor to an injured player’s return to game action.

“He’ll probably work that hopefully coming up pretty soon,” Mosley said.

While he hasn’t been available to help the Magic on the court, Wagner still offers his thoughts and advice to teammates during practices and in-game.

Guards Jalen Suggs (16 points) and Caleb Houstan (3) plus forwards Chuma Okeke (6) and Banchero along with center Goga Bitadze (10 points and 10 rebounds) earned the starts against the Hawks.

Big man Wendell Carter Jr. (18 points) and guard Cole Anthony (10) boosted the Magic offense off the bench.

During shootaround Wednesday Wagner was talking with Banchero and Mosley about certain situations that he sees during the game that he’s observed while sitting on the sidelines.

“Some of that is great that he can continue to communicate with the guys what he sees while he’s sitting out,” Mosley said about Wagner.

Suggs said Wagner has helped the team tremendously while on the mend.

“He’s such a great basketball mind and he’s a great human, so it’s always good being around him,” Suggs said. “I can’t wait to get him back in the fold, but he’s been a part of everything we’ve been doing still.”

In addition to Wagner, guard Gary Harris (right calf strain) missed his seventh straight game as well.

Mosley mentioned at the shootaround that Harris also hasn’t done any contact work yet either.

“Gary’s progressing well,” the Magic coach said.

The Magic return to Kia Center when they host the 76ers on Friday (Bally Sports Florida, 7) before playing back-to-back games against the Heat on Sunday (6) and the Cavaliers the next night (7).