With the Orlando Magic‘s season seemingly falling apart, they could do without an injury to a key player. When Jodie Meeks exited Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans with a thumb injury, the signs were bad.
Jodie Meeks Out 4-6 Weeks with Thumb Injury
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Meeks has sustained a dislocated thumb in his shooting hand. Although Meeks will not require surgery, he could face up to six weeks on the sideline. With fellow shooting guard Evan Fournier also injured for the Magic, Orlando now looks very thin at the two spot.
Next Man Up
Although the injury to Meeks initially seems like a problem for the Magic, Orlando already has a solution sitting on the bench. Former first-round pick Mario Hezonja has found limited opportunities this season under coach Frank Vogel, but he could now see an expanded role with the team. The 6’8″ swingman from Croatia has proved to be a sharpshooter in his time with the Magic. Hezonja shot 43 percent from the field in his rookie season, including 34 percent from three-point range. Though his defense has been a major concern for the Magic, Hezonja could be a good short term solution until Fournier, the starter, returns from injury. The rest of the minutes at shooting guard will likely be split between point-guards D.J. Augustin and C.J. Watson.
Help from the D-League
It would be a somewhat foolish venture for the Magic to rush into a trade following the injury to Meeks. An alternative route the Magic could take to mitigate the impact of Meeks’ injury would be to call up some players from their D-League team, the Erie BayHawks.
Guard C.J. Wilcox, who is currently playing in Erie, has previous experience in the NBA. The former L.A. Clipper is currently averaging 12.5 PPG in Erie and is shooting 51.3 percent from the floor. Although not a likely solution, Wilcox is certainly a player the Magic could turn to if needed.
The injury to Jodie Meeks is undoubtedly a blow for the Magic. However, with players such as Hezonja ready to fill in, Orlando shouldn’t worry too much.