The Orlando Magic announced on Monday night that they will be without No. 5 overall pick Jalen Suggs for an extended period of time after he suffered a fractured thumb during the team’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Suggs will have his thumb re-evaluated when the team returns to Orlando but will be out for multiple weeks.
With five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Suggs came off a pair of screens and found himself one-on-one with Joel Embiid. The rookie tried to take advantage of the apparent mismatch but was quickly reminded that bigs in the NBA are different than bigs in college. Embiid stuck with him and slapped the ball away as Suggs tried to get into the paint.
Suggs was looking at and grabbing his thumb as he made his way back up the floor, and was taken out for good at the next dead ball. The Magic initially announced that Suggs had suffered a sprain, but further evaluation and imaging, unfortunately, revealed a fracture.
It’s still too early to know exactly how long Suggs will be out, but the fact that Wojnarowski was referencing weeks instead of months in his report suggests that this won’t be a major, long-term problem. That’s better than the alternative, but it’s obviously not ideal for Suggs’ development this season.
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Suggs, who finished the night with 17 points and five assists, has been off to a somewhat frustrating start. He plays extremely hard on both ends, and there have been some nice flashes, but he just hasn’t stood out in any one particular area. Through 20 games he’s averaging 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game, but is also shooting 33.6 percent from the field and 24.8 percent from 3-point land while also turning the ball over 3.3 times per game.
Of course, he’s still a young player and has plenty of time to improve, but having to sit out for a few weeks won’t make things any easier.