That Magic Feeling

Here the Orlando Magic go again, down a road they’ve travelled too often the last month.

Injury road.

An MRI performed Saturday confirmed Magic forward Aaron Gordon strained his right calf in a loss Friday night, team officials said. Although Gordon joined teammates, coaches and Magic staff on their flight to Michigan on Saturday afternoon, Gordon will not play when the Magic face the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. It’s unclear how many games he’ll miss.

Gordon’s injury arrives at a time the Magic already are hobbling, with injuries to Arron Afflalo, Evan Fournier, Jonathan Isaac and Terrence Ross. Isaac might return Sunday from a 17-game absence due to a sprained right ankle, and Afflalo might be able to play after a bout of back spasms. But Fournier is nursing a sprained right ankle and won’t play in Detroit, and Ross continues to use crutches as he recovers from a right knee injury.

“We still have good players in this locker room,” Nikola Vucevic said. “You still go out there and do your best and try to win. You can’t feel sorry for yourself at any point. Injuries are a part of this game, part of what we do. Sometimes you’re going to have guys down. Sometimes the other team’s going to have guys down. It is what it is. You go out there and compete. You can’t use that as an excuse.”

Gordon’s calf strain felt deflating, however. On Friday, he returned from a two-game absence due to a concussion, but he pulled up as he ran down the court against the Portland Trail Blazers with 8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Magic lost 95-88, but at least they played harder than they did during a loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Their poor effort against the Clippers manifested itself clearly on the defensive end, and in a film session Thursday, coach Frank Vogel screamed at his players and exhorted them to stop feeling sorry for themselves. One Magic player said he had never seen Vogel so angry.

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The team responded well Friday night against the Trail Blazers, producing a better effort. Early in the game, Elfrid Payton poked the basketball away from Portland’s Damian Lillard and dove to the parquet floor to corral the loose ball, resulting in a fast break layup by Jonathon Simmons. Later on, Simmons and Marreese Speights also took one charge apiece.

Vogel disliked losing, of course, but he found no fault with the team’s overall effort.

“If we play like that on a consistent basis, we’re going to win some games here coming up,” Vogel said.

“Once the people that are out are out, we don’t care who’s out,” Vogel added, echoing the message he already gave to his players. “We’ve got guys in uniform that have to go get a win. All that stuff is irrelevant. We’ve got plenty of capable guys in uniform to go out and compete and get W’s, and that’s got to be the challenge for the Detroit game.”

In reality, however, the Magic had a small margin for error even when they were fully healthy. The margin for error is almost nonexistent now that the two leading scorers, Fournier and Gordon, are out again. Isaac, meanwhile, is one of the team’s most versatile defenders. And Ross provided some scoring punch as the sixth man.

The last thing the Magic can afford to do is let their injury situation dampen their energy.

“We need to know that it’s part of what we do,” Vucevic said. “When one guy goes down, the next man comes in and picks it up and tries to make up for the loss. It is what is. A lot of teams are going through it, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

jrobbins@orlandosentinel.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.

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>Magic-Pistons postgame interview: Frank Vogel
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Frank Vogel discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

Frank Vogel discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

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>Magic-Pistons postgame interview: Frank Vogel
CAPTION

Frank Vogel discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

Frank Vogel discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

>Magic-Pistons postgame interview: Mario Hezonja
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Mario Hezonja discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

Mario Hezonja discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

>Magic-Pistons postgame interview: Jonathan Isaac
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Jonathan Isaac discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

Jonathan Isaac discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

>Magic-Pistons postgame interview: Nikola Vucevic
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Nikola Vucevic discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

Nikola Vucevic discusses the Orlando Magic's 114-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons in this postgame video

>Trail Blazers-Magic postgame interview: Nikola Vucevic
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 Nikola Vucevic discusses the Magic's 95-88 loss to the Trail Blazers in this postgame interview

 Nikola Vucevic discusses the Magic's 95-88 loss to the Trail Blazers in this postgame interview


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Source : http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/orlando-magic/os-sp-orlando-magic-main-1217-story.html

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