Glen Davis makes an impact in return to the Magic
NOV 23, 2013 10:56p ET
"I haven't felt like that since the Final Four in college," said Glen Davis, who as a sophomore helped lead LSU to the national semifinals.
"I was so nervous, but when I got that first spin move, I was like, 'Uh-oh, I'm back.' That's my move right there."
Forgive Davis for the jitters on Saturday night. When he stepped on the AmericanAirlines Arena court with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, it was the seven-year veteran's first game in nearly 10 months.
That was because the Magic power forward suffered a fractured left foot on Jan. 30 at New York. His return was pushed back further after another procedure was needed in July to stabilize the fifth metatarsal in the foot.
Although saying he was "rusty," Davis had a team-high 20 points and five rebounds in Orlando's 101-99 loss to the Miami Heat.
"It felt good out there," he said. "I didn't expect to play that many minutes. How many was it?"
Told he played 27 minutes — actually 26:14 — Davis replied: "I don't mind, I've been off for a long time."
Davis sat in front of his locker sporting a Band-Aid next to his right eye to cover three stitches for a cut received late in the game courtesy of LeBron James.
"He elbowed me — he didn't do it on purpose," Davis said. "We were scrambling for the ball."
Despite the gash, Davis said he was happy to make his return against the two-time defending NBA champions.
"I wouldn't want to come back against any other team," he said. "This was a great team to come back against and play. I'm just happy to be back, no matter if we're playing the NBA champs or the (New Orleans) Pelicans or something. I'm just happy to play basketball and show the world I can contribute to a team. I'm just happy I'm back."
Davis certainly made that known in his season debut, even playing all 12 minutes in a hotly contested fourth quarter.
"I think he was extremely focused tonight, following the game plan and helping his teammates out," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "He's a professional. He's done this before. I'm quite sure that it felt more normal (for him) to be out there than to not be out there."
Upon entering the locker room after the game, Davis was greeted with hand slaps from guard Jameer Nelson and forward Jason Maxiell. They were among the Magic players who understood the 6-foot-9, 289-pounder had worked hard to keep his weight down (relatively speaking) and get in game shape.
"It was great," Nelson said of Davis' return. "He brings toughness. He brings experience. It's great when he's out there. He's one of the veteran guys out there who know how to play the game."
Davis hit 7 of 13 shots and 6 of 8 free throws. His rebounds included two on the offensive end.
"I could have played better. I could have got more rebounds," he said. "I got kind of winded out there for a little bit. I should have had more rebounds."
Perhaps, but Davis was pleased with his overall performance.
"I wasn't surprised, I've been waiting for this moment for a long while," Davis said. "Everybody knows what I can do when healthy. That's what I showed."
Charlie McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas.
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