If you run into Nikola Vucevic these days, you might see him reaching into a rice bucket, playing a video game called “Football Manager” or dribbling a basketball, attempting layups and taking jump shots with assistant coach Corliss Williamson. All of it — the rice bucket forays, the video games and the individual basketball drills — share something in common. Each activity strengthens his left hand, which he fractured on Dec. 23 and underwent surgery on Dec. 26. “It’s very tough to sit on the sidelines,” Vucevic said Thursday. “For me, it’s never been this long. Just watching the game each time, it’s like, ‘Ugh, I want to be there.’ You want to compete out there with the guys. Being on the sideline and doing stuff on your own while they’re competing doing all the fun stuff together is very hard. It’s not easy. In a way, it takes a toll on you mentally.” It could be worse. Although Vucevic is not used to lengthy injury layoffs, he is accustomed to something else that occurs every year at this time. His name often surfaces in the weeks leading up to the NBA trade deadline. And with the Magic struggling, mired in yet another disastrous season, his name likely will emerge again before this season’s deadline expires on Feb. 8, even if the rumors have no basis in fact. Vucevic is the Magic’s longest-tenured player. Acquired when the franchise traded Dwight Howard in August 2012, Vucevic has been the one on-court constant throughout the franchise’s long, frustrating rebuild. Nobody on the roster has endured as many losses as he’s endured — 311 total and counting — over the last 5½ seasons. And yet, Vucevic made something clear Thursday: He has no desire to be traded.
Nikola Vucevic Hopes He's Not Traded By Magic
Orlando Sentinel | Jan 26