Magic’s Paolo Banchero, Moe Wagner available to make returns vs. 76ers – The Mercury News


The Orlando Magic could get a much-needed boost to their frontcourt vs. the Philadelphia 76ers at Amway Center.

Rookie forward Paolo Banchero and big man Moe Wagner are available to make their returns Friday.

Banchero has been out seven consecutive games because of a sprained left ankle in a Nov. 7 home loss to the Houston Rockets.

“I’ve just got to be patient,” Banchero said. “It’s my first time dealing with injuries. At first, I wanted to rush as quickly as possible trying to get back. I realized that wasn’t doing any good for me. I’m trying to learn to be patient and continue to be patient and listen to myself.”

Wagner will make his season debut if he plays. He hasn’t played since spraining his right midfoot during the preseason win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 14.

Banchero and Wagner practiced Wednesday.

“I haven’t heard Moe Wagner’s trash talk in a while,” Jalen Suggs said. “That was amazing. It’s good to see him back.”

Starting big man Wendell Carter Jr. (strained right plantar fascia — soft tissue under the foot) and reserve forward Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness) were listed as questionable on Thursday’s injury report.

Carter’s missed three of the last four games.

He told the Sentinel ahead of last Friday’s road win over the Chicago Bulls that he had been dealing with his injury for 5-6 games before sitting for the first time during the Nov. 16 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Okeke played 12 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Pacers in Indianapolis before exiting with 9:33 remaining in the third.

“That’s the same knee he’s dealt with before,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “A part of this is being careful so things don’t get any worse. We want to stay cautious with our guys and make sure we try to get healthy bodies back.”

Cole Anthony (torn right internal oblique), Markelle Fultz (fractured left big toe) and Jonathan Isaac (left knee injury recovery) remain out.

Fultz practiced Wednesday but will need more conditioning and practice time before making his season debut.

He told the Sentinel on Nov. 9 that he was hoping to return “within the next 3-4 weeks” and reaffirmed those hopes to the Sentinel last week.

That time frame is Wednesday-Dec. 7.

“It didn’t even feel real when everybody went down just like that. It felt like every other day somebody was out,” Suggs said. “It wasn’t day-to-day. It’s nice to have them back around, back moving and just get that vibe of normalcy back.”

Banchero, the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, is averaging a team-high 23.5 points, which is the most among rookies, to go with 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 34.6 minutes (11 games).

He scored 33 and 30 points in back-to-back games before his injury.

“I was in a good rhythm for sure,” Banchero said. “I definitely felt like I was improving every game, just learning. It sucks that I got hurt in the middle of playing well like that, but I’m looking forward to coming back whenever I do and just picking up where I left off.”

This article first appeared on Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.



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