NEW YORK — For generations of people, this city has served as a gateway to new beginnings.
But for Glen Davis, a game in this city almost brought about an ending.
Here, inside Madison Square Garden, the burly Orlando Magic forward suffered an injury that jeopardized his career.
Now — almost 10 months after he fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot — he's about to come full circle. On Friday night, he'll finally play again on the court where his career took a sharp, and nearly disastrous, turn.
"I can't wait to go back to New York and make it a show," Davis said.
For sure, the Magic's game Friday night against the New York Knicks will be a spectacle. The Knicks have lost nine consecutive games.
Davis' return adds another compelling storyline to the mix.
He's played seven games since he returned from his injury, with mixed results. On Monday night, he managed just two points in a loss to the Washington Wizards. On Tuesday night, he poured in a career-high 33 points in a double-overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
"He loves playing," said the Magic's coach, Jacque Vaughn. "He loves competing. He wants to win. I'm going to spring for some ice to get him an ice bath and cool him down and get him right for two days from now."
Davis, 27, acknowledges that he still must knock off the rust that accumulated during his recovery.
After the double-overtime loss, he sat in a corner locker inside Wells Fargo Center, his shoulders slumped forward as he studied the box score. The stat sheet included his unlikely 3-pointer that tied the game 104-104 with 18.4 seconds in regulation. But the stat sheet also indicated that he had collected just three rebounds.
"I've got to be better as far as not just dominating on offense, but on defense and controlling the paint and getting rebounds," Davis said.
"I played 50 minutes and I only had three rebounds. That's crazy. That's horrible."
Davis excelled as a defender during last season's first 25 games, but his presence hasn't helped the Magic much on that end of the court so far this season.
According to the NBA's official statistics database, the Magic have limited opponents to 101.4 points per 100 possessions when Davis has been off the floor this season. But the team has allowed 107.2 points per 100 possessions when Davis has been on the court.
It's a small sample size, to be sure, because the injury kept him out a long time.
It occurred Jan. 30, in the first quarter of a game against the Knicks.
Davis was jogging upcourt when he crossed paths with Iman Shumpert, and Davis rolled his left ankle as he stepped on Shumpert's foot. For one brief instant, the fifth metatarsal of Davis' left foot bore the weight of Davis' 300-plus pounds.
The bone fractured.
Davis underwent surgery a couple of days later.
In early July, with his foot bothering him, he needed a second surgery to insert a bigger screw and receive a bone graft.
The setback shook Davis. It prompted him to decide to lose weight to take some stress off his foot.
So far, so good.
And although Davis hasn't made an extensive impact on defense, he has given the Magic more grit.
"He's just one of those players that when he speaks, you have to listen, and it kind of hits you deep, deep inside," rookie guard Victor Oladipo said. "If he talks, you just want to run through a brick wall. I kind of compare him to Ray Lewis just because of what he says and how much emotion [he has].
"When he's like that, it gets us motivated and it juices us up."
Davis will be motivated Friday night.
After almost 10 months, he wants to put on a show.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun