Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to miss time as he will undergo surgery on his left hand to repair a fractured third metacarpal.
According to the Magic, Carter Jr. will be re-evaluated in three weeks and his status will be updated then.
The big man’s injury happened during Orlando’s 115-113 win against the Utah Jazz when he grabbed a defensive rebound in the final seconds of the game but fell on his hand. In the game, he recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds, one block and shot 3-6 from deep.
Through the first five games of the season, Carter Jr. was averaging 9.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.6 blocks.
The first game of Carter Jr.’s absence saw center Goga Bitadze starting in his place against the Los Angeles Lakers. Before the game, Bitadze had only appeared in three of the Magic’s five games this season and was averaging 3.3 minutes per game.
Additionally, Orlando will have big men Jonathan Isaac and Moe Wagner to turn to, and could possibly look to bring in outside help through free agency or trade to help deal with Carter Jr.’s absence.
Budding star Paolo Banchero at center could also be something that head coach Jamahl Mosley explores, as Banchero saw time at the five when he was playing with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup this summer. At 6 foot 10 inches, last year’s Rookie of the Year is tied for second-tallest player on the team behind Wagner.
The Magic will have one more home game after the Lakers against the Dallas Mavericks before heading to Mexico City to take on the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 9 at 9:30 p.m.