Florida Magic Today
Magic hope win energizes team
General manager Otis Smith is quick to point out that Orlando's woes began on Jan. 10 when promising small forward Trevor Ariza slipped on a wet spot at Golden State's Oracle Arena. Ariza, Orlando's best defender and top reserve, tore a ligament in his knee. Not coincidentally, Smith said, the Magic have gone 4-11 since losing the blossoming Ariza.
Factor in the injuries to Grant Hill, Keyon Dooling (thumb ligament tear) and Tony Battie (chipped bone in thumb), and the Magic have had to try and survive with a skeleton lineup. The result has been a loss of confidence and continuity both offensively and defensively.
"I look at the fact that we were 19-31 at this point last year and I look at the fact that four of our top eight are injured," Smith said. "We could overanalyze it and say this needs to happen and this needs to happen, but I know what we need most of all. Most of it is getting guys healthy and continuing the maturation process of a young team."
Added Brian Hill: "Healthy teams win. If we can stay healthy, we have a chance to stay up in that upper echelon. If we don't, we'll continue to struggle."