Vucevic ruled out again Tuesday, Magic struggling without center

Blake Murphy

The Orlando Magic received what seemed like good news on Saturday when it was determined that injured center Nikola Vucevic would travel with the team on their three-game road trip.

However, Vucevic sat out once again on Sunday and has already been ruled out for Tuesday night's game against Detroit.

Of course, the Magic aren't going to let Vucevic play until they're absolutely certain he's ready. The Swiss big man has been sidelined since Jan. 6 with a concussion, the second one he's suffered within a calendar year. The NBA has strict protocol for a return from a concussion and the team will probably want to be cautious beyond those restrictions, too.

But oh boy, are the Magic ever struggling without him. Between this absence and earlier missed time due to an ankle injury, Orlando is now just 2-15 with Vucevic out of the lineup. His impact is felt in several areas but primarily on the glass:

Vucevic Impact Magic with Vucevic Magic without Vucevic
O-Rating 99.1 98.2
D-Rating 103.7 104.8
OReb% 23.4% 19.5%
DReb% 77.2% 74.6%
% of shots within five feet 32.2% 30.9%
FG% within five feet 57.8% 55.4%

Now, the Magic aren't really worried about wins and losses this season, and their 12-33 record is probably considered a blessing in the front office. However, they're getting a clear lesson that Vucevic - a free agent in 2015 - is an important part of the current core.

In the 28 games he has played, Vucevic is averaging 13 points, 11 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, right in line with his breakout 2012-13 numbers.