If the Orlando Magic are going to break their season-high, eight-game losing streak when they host the Chicago Bulls tonight, they’ll have to do it without two key starters.
Swingman Arron Afflalo and center Nik Vucevic will not play tonight, coach Jacque Vaughn said.
“We hope to get Arron and Nik back as soon as possible, but that’s what we’re faced with right now,” Magic forward Tobias Harris said. “So, I’m not a guy to make excuses and neither is our team. For us, it’s just to accomplish what we have as a task right now, and that’s to win tonight’s game.”
Afflalo originally hoped to return tonight from a sore right ankle. Instead, he’ll miss his third consecutive game.
Vucevic suffered a concussion on Jan. 6.
Given that the injury was Vucevic’s second concussion since March 19, 2013, and that the team is looking to secure a top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, there’s a strong likelihood that the Magic will be especially cautious in bringing him back.
Vucevic cannot return to play until he passes the NBA’s concussion protocol, anyway.
Afflalo is the Magic’s leading scorer, while Vucevic is the Magic’s leading rebounder.
The Magic are 0-3 in games Afflalo has missed this season and 0-10 in games Vucevic has missed this season. (Keep in mind that those losses include the two games that Afflalo and Vucevic simultaneously missed.)
“The level of consistency has to go up to a whole other level,” said Glen Davis, who has played center in Vucevic’s absence. “Being able to win is a tough thing, and we’ve got to make sure that we do every little thing.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.