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Magic’s Aaron Gordon gets ‘load management’ excuse for latest absence

Aaron Gordon, Magic

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon will not play in Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Gordon has been ruled out due to “injury management” on Gordon’s left hamstring.

However, considering Gordon had played in the team’s first eight games, this could just be an excuse for load management.

Gordon left the NBA’s bubble in Orlando due to a strained left hamstring, and it appears that the same hamstring is still giving him issues.

Indeed, the Magic have been slightly more judicious with Gordon’s minutes. The former Arizona star is averaging 25.1 minutes per game this year, down from 32.5 minutes last season.

Interestingly, the minutes decrease has actually resulted in more efficiency. Gordon is averaging 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. He is shooting close to 49 percent from the field, including a more respectable 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Gordon is also seeing a higher usage than he had in the prior two seasons. Increased usage and efficiency reflect well on his advanced numbers, as the 25-year-old is averaging a career-high 18.5 Player Efficiency Rating and .146 Win Shares per 48 minutes, per Basketball-Reference.

Gordon’s strong play is one of the reasons Orlando is off to a 6-2 start. The Magic rank fourth in the NBA in defensive rating, though they have also had the benefit of a fairly easy schedule to begin the season.

Still, Steve Clifford and Co. will undoubtedly take every win they can at this stage. The Magic need Gordon to continue on his present course, especially with Markelle Fultz now out for the year and Jonathan Isaac already sidelined.

As such, Orlando will give Gordon’s hamstring a quick rest.