Denton: Afflalo Misses Game in Denver with Sore Foot

By John Denton
Jan. 11, 2014

DENVER – As expected, Orlando Magic standout guard Arron Afflalo did not play on Saturday because of lingering soreness in a right foot where he felt a ``burning’’ sensation in the second half of Friday’s loss.

In a bit of much-needed good news for the Magic, Afflalo – who walked into Denver’s Pepsi Center wearing a protective walking boot – said the pain and swelling in his foot and ankle weren’t too severe. He hopes that he can return by either Monday or Wednesday.

``It actually wasn’t bad. My foot felt better, but I had some soreness from the twisting of my ankle,’’ Afflalo said prior to Saturday’s game in Denver. ``I just think it’s best for me to try and get myself completely healthy with all of the nagging injuries that I have – whether it’s one game or two games – so that I can mentally refresh and come back strong.’’

Afflalo had X-rays on his foot late Friday night in Sacramento after he sprained his foot, but they proved to be negative. Afflalo said the tests did show ``strained’’ ligaments along the outside of his foot. Afflalo was limping badly after the game and his initial diagnosis was that he would need ``a couple of days’’ before returning to game action.

Afflalo injured his foot midway through the third quarter of Orlando’s 103-83 loss to Sacramento. He chose to stay in the game and merely tightened the laces on his shoe in hopes of studying his ankle. Afflalo said that in hindsight that was probably a poor decision.

``Not really (much swelling), but it was definitely sore when I first took those steps out of bed,’’ Afflalo said. ``I’ve been icing it since (Friday night) and today. I’m usually pretty good with injuries that aren’t major. My body kind of recovers pretty quickly with things that I can play through.’’

Saturday’s game was just the second this season that Afflalo has missed. It is the finest season of his seven-year NBA career what with him averaging career-bests in scoring (20.8 ppg.), rebounds (4.4 rpg.), assists (3.9 apg.) and 3-point shooting (41.4 percent). Afflalo’s production could be good enough to get him into the NBA All-Star Game as a coach’s selection for the first time in his career.

MO MINUTES: With Afflalo out Saturday and possibly again on Monday when the Magic close their five-game road trip in Dallas, second-year forward Maurice Harkless was inserted into the starting lineup.

Harkless, who has been in and out of the rotation most of the season, has opened some eyes among the coaching staff on the trip with some steady play when he’s been on the floor.

He had a season-high 22 points, six rebounds and two steals on Monday in Los Angeles, helping the Magic trim a 35-point deficit down to 16 in the fourth quarter. He followed that up with six points in 16 minutes in Portland and 10 points in 24 minutes in Sacramento.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said Harkless is figuring out ways to contribute to the Magic on both ends of the floor by using his speed and athleticism to become a difference-maker. He’s also been impressed with the focus and the side work that Harkless has put in to keep himself ready on a nightly basis.

``He’s continued to be a true professional and learn what this thing is about,’’ Vaughn said. ``The approach that you have to have every day, we talked about a week ago about how he’s learning to be successful. His preparation is focused on all of the little things and he’s been detailed to do the things that are going to make him successful on the floor.’’