PHILADELPHIA — The Orlando Magic deactivated starting shooting guard Jason Richardson for their game Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and started J.J. Redick in Richardson's place.

Richardson said the move was made because he continues to feel weakness in his left knee, which he originally injured during a game Jan. 12. The injury, which team officials have labeled as a bone bruise, forced Richardson to miss three games Jan. 16-18, but Richardson had returned to the lineup Jan. 20.

Richardson said coach Stan Van Gundy approached him after the loss Sunday night to the Indiana Pacers and told Richardson that it would be best for Richardson to take the Sixers' game off.

"I don't have strength in my knee yet," Richardson said. "Stan saw it, and he felt like I could play well once we get started [in a game]. But once I sit down and take my rest, it's hard to get my knee back going and moving. So he felt like he'd rather have me at 100 percent instead of playing at 60 percent."

It's unclear when Richardson will return, but he said he wanted to play Monday and wants to return as soon as possible.

Nelson still suffering

Richardson's absence meant that the Magic were missing their entire regular starting backcourt.

Point guard Jameer Nelson missed his second consecutive game because he's suffering from concession-like symptoms, and Van Gundy said before tipoff that Nelson probably will not play again until Feb. 6 at the earliest.

"Unfortunately, it keeps getting pushed back a little bit because he really hasn't felt much better in the last couple of days," Van Gundy said.

Moving forward

Slumping teams often have trouble doing the simplest things.

The Magic had reached that point as Monday's game approached.

Their point guards recently have faced fullcourt pressure, the Magic were having problems just bringing the ball up the floor and getting into their halfcourt offense.

The difficulties began when Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley applied fullcourt pressure on Magic point guard Jameer Nelson on Jan. 23, and the tactic was so effective that teams have continued to do it at times ever since.

On Sunday night, the Indiana Pacers often hounded Chris Duhon as he filled in for Nelson. Duhon committed four of Orlando's 19 turnovers in the 106-85 loss.

"Yeah, we've got to handle that better," Van Gundy said. "Come on, it's the NBA. You've got to get the ball up the floor."

Van Gundy and his assistant coaches want to see Duhon, Larry Hughes and Hedo Turkoglu be more aggressive handling the pressure. Instead of moving laterally, Magic coaches want to see their players maneuver more north to south.

Slipping on "D"

One statistic must cause Van Gundy more concern than any other.

The Magic entered Monday ranked 19th in opponents' field-goal percentage. They had allowed other teams to shoot 44.5 percent from the field.

"We're a step late on a lot of things," Van Gundy said. "It's a matter of a little bit more effort, a little bit more discipline in what we're doing and more will to get the job done. It's not an easy thing, and we're sort of taking the easy way out right now a lot of times.

"Whether that's fatigue or whatever, it doesn't matter. You've got to overcome that, and we're not doing it right now. And that, to me, is the most disturbing thing."

Duhon said: "It's easy to play defense when shots are being made and everybody's into it. But we've got to become a team that when shots are not being made, we still put out a real good effort defensively that will keep us in games instead of having to always come back from double-digit leads."

Layups

Tony Battie started for the Sixers at center. Battie served as a mentor to Dwight Howard when Battie played for the Magic, and Battie nearly signed a free-agent deal with Orlando during the offseason. Battie actually won the opening tip Monday against Howard, prompting Howard to smile.

• The Magic entered Monday trying to avoid their first four-game losing streak since last season, when they did it twice: Dec. 14-21, 2010, and Dec. 4-10, 2010.

• Orlando activated rookie shooting guard DeAndre Liggins to take Richardson's place on the active roster.

jbrobbins@tribune.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.