Update: Banchero was able to return to Wednesday’s game. This is a huge relief for Magic fans, who have already seen their team lose a couple key rotation players tonight.
Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero, the reigning Rookie of the Year, appeared to suffer a non-contact leg injury in Wednesday’s contest against the Sacramento Kings. His leg slid while boxing out on a free throw, and Banchero immediately pulled up knowing something was off. He went to the locker room.
Paolo Banchero had to go back to the Magic locker room after this play... pic.twitter.com/tLI3Qna1pe— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) January 4, 2024
Banchero suffering an injury would be bad enough for the Magic, but his potential loss is compounded by Franz Wagner’s injury earlier in the same game. Although X-rays on Wagner’s ankle came back negative, he was unable to return to the contest. The Magic are already down Jonathan Isaac at the wing spot, and now have to deal with Wagner and possibly Banchero being out. Gary Harris also left this game with ankle trouble and is unable to return.
The Magic got hit with the injury bug in a big way here. Caleb Houstan entered the game for Wagner, and Chuma Okeke seems likely to get playing time if Banchero is also out. Orlando might opt to go with a bigger rotation featuring both Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Wagner if the Magic lose both their star forwards for an extended period of time.