As Jalen Suggs missed the Orlando Magic’s 94-90 Tuesday home win over the Golden State Warriors for his fourth consecutive absence because of a right ankle bone bruise, questions naturally arose about his status for the remainder of the season.
Suggs sat six of the last nine games because of an injury to the right ankle — the bone bruise or a sprain he had been dealing with for most of the month.
With nine games in 19 days remaining after Tuesday, including Wednesday’s road matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, some teams in the Magic’s position might consider shutting down Suggs to ensure he’s fully healthy ahead of offseason training.
But Magic coach Jamahl Mosley made it clear that if Suggs, the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, is healthy enough to play, he’ll be on the court.
“Him and I actually just had a very good conversation a moment ago about his competitive nature and what he wants to do,” Mosley said ahead of Tuesday’s tipoff. “For that young man, playing is the thing he loves to do the most. Being around his teammates is what he loves to do the most in these situations. We’ll focus on his health, which is obviously the biggest thing. If he’s healthy, we’ll have him on the court ready to play.”
With Suggs out, the Magic closed out their six-game homestand Tuesday with a 3-3 record after coming back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Wendell Carter Jr. (19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 8 rebounds) hit a free throw line jumper to give the Magic a 86-85 lead with 1:43 remaining after they trailed for most of the second half.
After Andrew Wiggins’ 3-pointer 40 seconds later, Mo Bamba (7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks) hit a 3 to give Orlando an 89-88 advantage with 52 seconds left.
The Magic got the defensive stop on the ensuing possession and Klay Thompson fouled Franz Wagner (18 points on 6-of-9 shooting) on a 3-point attempt with 13 seconds left, with Wagner making all 3 three free throws.
After allowing a layup by Jordan Poole (game-high 26 points), Wagner sealed the victory with a dunk off a sideline out-of-bounds play with 6.5 seconds remaining. Cole Anthony finished with 14 points (5 of 12), 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
Suggs didn’t take part in the last two practices (Saturday and Monday) and has yet to progress to contact in his individual on-court work.
Mosley didn’t rule Suggs out for Wednesday and added that he’ll travel.
“Moving forward, we’re going to see how he continues to respond as we ramp him up, but no timetable,” Mosley said. “We’re going to see how he responds from [Tuesday’s] workouts and kind of go from there.”
The Magic already will be without Markelle Fultz against the Thunder, which will be their last back-to-back.
Fultz has been on a 16-20-minute restriction and hasn’t played in both games of a back-to-back since returning in late February from an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee.
Source: Berkshire mont