Magic’s Rashard Lewis playing with viral infection

Associated Press Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Maybe this is why Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis has been struggling in the Eastern Conference finals: He’s been playing with a viral infection.

Lewis says he’s been sick the “whole series” against the Boston Celtics.

“Overall it effects you,” he said after Orlando’s shootaround Wednesday. “I’ve been throwing up. I haven’t been at full strength. I’ve been feeling weak, my legs been feeling weak. I find myself getting tired very fast in the first quarter. You know, when you can’t hold food down you have no energy in your body to go out there and perform.”

Lewis was planning to take intravenous fluids before Game 5 on Wednesday night for the fourth straight game. He said he’s feeling better and expects to start, but is not completely healthy.

It has certainly looked that way.

After averaging 17 points per game in the second round against Atlanta, Lewis is shooting 29 percent against Boston and is averaging seven points a game. The Magic’s highest-paid player, he’s in the third season of a $118 million, six-year contract, has been criticized for his performance.

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy wouldn’t comment on Lewis’ illness or how it could affect the team’s lineups. The Celtics lead the series 3-1.

“Regular season, I probably would have sat out,” Lewis said. “Not to make no excuses, it is the playoffs. You just got to go out there and give it 110 percent. It’s the playoffs. I’ve got to drag myself out there if anything.”