Hedo Turkoglu's season halted almost as soon as it began. In the middle of the third quarter of the opening game against Denver he went to swipe at Danilo Gallinari and found his hand broken. Turkoglu left that first game after playing only 16 minutes and scoring six points on 3-for-4 shooting.
The Magic determined he had broken his hand that night and would be out indefinitely. Nearly two months later, Turkoglu finally played his second game Saturday night, coming off the bench in Toronto's 35-point win over Orlando on Saturday night.
Now comes the hard part, doing it again, getting consistency and regaining his form.
"Today, I was real nervous in the beginning and excited to get back with my team," Turkoglu said. "I was expecting the first game to be like this. I’m not worried about it.
"These next few games, it’s going to be doing the best I can to get into better shape. As you guys know, game shape is always different than practice or whatever you are doing individually. I’m going to take these games and try to do my best and get my conditioning and my wind back and try to play my game."
Turkoglu played 23 minutes off the bench, scoring eight points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists. He showed plenty of flashes of his potential in shooting 3 for 8 from the floor as he got to the rim for each of his three makes and even recorded a few and-ones. Getting to the line was not an issue for Turkoglu as he attempted four free throws on the night.
The rust was certainly there though. Turkoglu said he felt a step slow and there were definitely some times where he was expecting to be open and found himself still covered. Not to mention Turkoglu had two turnovers too and seemed a bit hesitant to shoot.
Turkoglu is still getting his legs under him that much is clear.
"It’s good to get him some minutes and even extending toward the end of the game some game minutes underneath him," Jacque Vaughn said. "I thought he attacked the rim pretty well, finished with a couple of and-ones. It was good to see the ball in his hands, distributing making passes and pick and rolls. It’s definitely good to see him out there."
The next step, as mentioned before, is for Turkoglu to have another good game and build upon his appearance Saturday. That could mean getting a few more minutes or could mean getting more comfortable shooting or even something as simple as getting more comfortable in the offense.
He got hit in that carefully wrapped hand a few times in Saturday's game and did not seem too worse for the wear. His confidence and aggression should increase with the more time he gets on the floor.
For now, Turkoglu just seems happy to be back on the floorand back with his team.
"[I missed] pretty much everything," Turkoglu said. "Just being out there with these guys. I wasn’t able to travel with the team. It was my first road trip the other day [at Washington on Friday].
"Good and bad, you just miss it because you are part of the team. You want to be there with your team for the good days and bad days. I’m just happy that I’m back and hopefully I’ll be in better shape after a few games and contribute the best I can and what I’m capable of."