Magic 100, Hornets 85
Saturday, October 14th 2006, 7:37 am
By: News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Tyson Chandler and then David West limped into the New Orleans locker room with ankle injuries. Despite the two scares in quick succession, the Hornets escaped without major damage to their starting lineup.
Chandler sprained his left ankle and West his right as the Hornets lost two of their five starters in a span of about 5 minutes in the third quarter of a 100-85 loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Hornets coach Byron Scott called both of the sprains ``mild'' and he expects both players back for New Orleans' next preseason game on Tuesday at Miami.
``This is nothing. I'll be OK,'' said West, the Hornets' leading scorer and rebounder last season. ``I'm probably going to take it easy (Saturday) and get back out there on Sunday and be ready to go when we head down to Miami.''
Chandler was the first to go, hobbling off the court only 46 seconds into the second half. West followed with 6:07 to play in the third quarter.
``My foot is a little sore and there's a little swelling, but it's fine,'' said Chandler, who came to the Hornets in an offseason trade with Chicago.
Pat Garrity scored 19 points and Dwight Howard added 17 to lead the Magic, who took control soon after the injuries.
After West limped off, Desmond Mason made four free throws to give the Hornets a 62-60 lead. Howard then scored seven points during a 21-4 run to put the Magic ahead to stay.
Travis Diener added 14 points for Orlando, while rookie Kasib Powell had 12 and Darko Milicic and Keith Bogans had 10 each.
Mason scored 16 points for New Orleans and first-round draft pick Hilton Armstrong added 10.
The Magic fell behind 30-21 late in the first quarter but scored the final seven points of the first half to lead 47-46.
``We came out and started the game very slow again,'' Magic coach Brian Hill said. ``Some of that could be because we don't have everyone in there, but right now our slow starts are something that is a concern to me. Hopefully we can fix that when we have everyone available.''
Jameer Nelson (mild concussion), J.J. Redick (left foot) and Hedo Turkoglu (flu) were among six Orlando players who sat out with a variety of ailments.
The Hornets entered with only free agent signee Peja Stojakovic (left quadriceps strain) out. They soon added to those ranks.
``I don't know who it was. I shot the ball and when I came down, the guy kept coming up under me,'' West said.
Last season, West sprained his left ankle in a preseason game and was hampered by it all season. The injury caused him to miss six games but he also played with pain in others as the Hornets remained in contention for the playoffs. He still finished second in voting for the NBA's most improved player after averaging 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds.
West said the Hornets were ``just being cautious'' and he considered the sprain far less severe than the one last preseason.
``It feels all right now. They've got it wrapped up,'' West said. ``I'll be OK.''
Scott said he'd be careful with the players if they didn't heal before Tuesday, but both were confident they'd be able to return.
``I don't want to miss any time because I need to get as much time as possible with my teammates to get acclimated,'' Chandler said.
Scott said he didn't feel any pressure to play Chandler and Stojakovic, even though they both only joined the team this season.
``We want them to be healthy (for the season opener) Nov. 1. That's the bottom line,'' Scott said. ``You're talking about three guys that are veterans, so they understand our system already. Two of them are new guys, Tyson and Peja, but they understand the way we play. I'm not worried about them.''