Nik Vucevic sat out his second game in a row Saturday night as his Orlando Magic hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves at Amway Center.
Vucevic now has missed 20 of the Magic's 77 games this season due to two separate left-ankle sprains, a concussion and — now — a sore left Achilles' tendon.
The Magic won't play again until they host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
"We'll use the next three days with [no] games in-between to hopefully get him back on the floor," coach Jacque Vaughn said.
A convincing case can be made that Vucevic, a 7-foot center, is the Magic's most indispensible player.
The Magic posted a 2-17 record in their first 19 games without Vucevic.
Opponents averaged 106.3 points in those games, and opponents also outrebounded the Magic in 14 of the 19 games, Orlando Sentinel research shows. Overall, the Magic were outrebounded by an average of 7.8 boards per game.
Opponents outscored the Magic in the paint in 14 of the first 19 games Vucevic missed and outscored the Magic in the paint by an average of 6.9 points per game in the 19 games.
When he was asked if Vucevic is the Magic's most indispensible player, Vaughn responded, "I think for our team, where we are, everybody is needed. I'll never put it on his hands as far as our success is concerned."
Timberwolves superstar Kevin Love sat out Saturday's game because of back spasms. Center Nikola Pekovic missed his third consecutive game because of a sore right ankle. Swingman Kevin Martin didn't play because of a sore right foot.
Chase Budinger sprained his right ankle 59 seconds into the game. After he shot a pair of free throws, he went to the Timberwolves' locker room.
With Vucevic out, Vaughn started rookie and former NBA Development League player Dewayne Dedmon at center.
It was the first start of Dedmon's NBA career. Dedmon had played for the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this season.
On Friday night, Dedmon played 18 minutes off the bench as the Magic lost to the Charlotte Bobcats 91-80.
Dedmon collected eight rebounds, but he also fell for pump-fakes by Bobcats center Al Jefferson.
"It was good to see a lot of things: the growth that he's had just from being here of being able to understand what we're trying to do defensively," Vaughn said of Dedmon. "I was talking to some coaches the other day. I [was] saying, 'He does a lot of things that go unnoticed on the stat sheet.'
"He'll have some more discipline, whether it's staying down on an Al Jefferson pump-fake, but that comes with time and playing and being in situations."
Vaughn also started Jameer Nelson at point guard, Arron Afflalo at shooting guard, Maurice Harkless at small forward and Kyle O'Quinn at power forward.
Vaughn now has employed 21 different starting lineups this season.
Friday night's loss to the Bobcats and Saturday night's game against the Timberwolves comprised the 17th pair of back-to-back games the Magic have played this season.
Through Friday, the Magic were 1-16 in the first game of back-to-backs and 4-12 in the second game.
The Magic entered Saturday night with a 5-24 record against Western Conference teams and a 16-31 record against Eastern Conference teams.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun