The Orlando Magic will have a key player back for the start of the 2022-23 season.
Second-year guard Jalen Suggs will be available for the season opener against the Pistons on Wednesday in Detroit, coach Jamahl Mosley told reporters after Sunday’s practice.
Suggs, the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, had been sidelined since suffering a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise during the Magic’s preseason win over the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 7 — an injury that at first appeared worse.
“I understood what it was,” Suggs said Sunday. “I had done this exact same thing before and understood what I had to do to get back. It feels good, I don’t like missing time, I don’t want to miss time. We’re feeling good and playing good, and I want to be of assistance with that. Now it’s focusing on Wednesday and getting this year started right.”
Added Suggs: “I know my body. … We were able to have a good conversation about how I went about [rehabbing the injury] the last time. We were able to come to a good medium ground — they listened to me, and I listened to them.”
The Magic closed out the preseason at 4-1 with home wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Cleveland Cavaliers last week.
Mosley said Suggs practiced after being limited to shooting the first couple of days after the injury. Suggs said he was eyeing a return for Friday’s preseason game with Cleveland but didn’t get cleared in time.
“They needed to see I could protect myself, that I could play and be useful out on the court,” he said. “There’s no point in going back if I’m not able to do the things I need and want to do.”
Suggs credited the coaching staff for helping him keep a positive mindset while sidelined.
“The first two days were really frustrating,” he said. “Me, Mose, [assistant coach] Jesse [Mermuys] and [assistant coach] Nate [Tibbetts], we all talked. The main thing was: Don’t drift into that space where you get into a negative mindset. Continue to stay positive whether you’re out for a week or for however long. That’s what I tried to do.”
Moe Wagner, who exited Friday in the second quarter after spraining his right ankle, was seen wearing a boot and didn’t practice Sunday.
His status for Wednesday hasn’t been determined.
“He’s still in the evaluation process,” Mosley said. “The reason why we don’t give timetables is because of that reason — you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. Similar to Jalen being out, that’s why we try to say there’s no timetable to what we’re doing.”