After overcoming a slow start without their leading scorer from last season, the Orlando Magic now have to move on without one of their top all-around players.
With forward Victor Oladipo sidelined indefinitely, the Magic will go after their fifth win in seven games Friday night as they look to end a four-game home skid versus the Utah Jazz.
Things seemed to go from bad to worse Nov. 4 when Nikola Vucevic banged knees with Dwight Howard in a 119-114 overtime loss to Houston that dropped Orlando to 1-4.
The Magic (4-5), however, won two of the next three games without Vucevic, who averaged a team-high 19.3 points in 2014-15. The center then hit a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer for a 101-99 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in his return on Wednesday.
The win proved costly for Orlando as Oladipo banged the side of his head into Dewayne Dedmon in the first quarter. The 23-year-old, who had scored 16.1 per game over his first eight, will have to go through the concussion protocol until he is symptom-free.
"It's very unfortunate, but we can't feel sorry,'' forward Evan Fournier, who's averaging a team-high 18.7 points, told the team's official website. "We have to play harder and everybody has to step up - just like when (Vucevic) was out. We know we're going to be fine. We have the right pieces to compete even without Vic.''
Shabazz Napier had a career-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers, against the Lakers after totaling 15 over his first seven games.
Orlando led the league in defensive field-goal percentage (40.4) through six games before allowing a 46.2 percent clip in its last three. Oladipo's absence won't help as he's had 14 steals and limited players he's defended to 37.9 percent shooting.
The Magic will try to keep the Jazz (4-4) scuffling after they shot 38.2 percent and missed 13 of 17 from 3-point range in Thursday's 92-91 loss at Miami. After winning four of its previous six, Utah has dropped the first two on this four-game road swing.
''We just weren't able to knock them down," forward Gordon Hayward said. "For whatever reason they didn't fall. The good news is we got the shots we wanted.''
Derrick Favors finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds against the Heat, while Hayward contributed 24 and 12. Favors has totaled 42 points and 21 boards and Alec Burks has scored a combined 48 while hitting 7 of 8 from 3-point range on the trip.
Although it ranks among the league's leaders in defensive scoring (90.0) and field-goal percentage (41.6), Utah allowed a season-high point total in Tuesday's 118-114 loss at Cleveland and has surrendered 48.3 percent shooting in the past two games.
Making matters worse, Rudy Gobert may not be able to play after missing Thursday's contest with a sprained left ankle. The center is averaging 3.4 blocks per game, and he's allowing opponents to shoot just 31.6 percent at the rim - the best defensive mark in the league.
The Jazz have limited the Magic to 89.3 points per game in their last six meetings. They've won eight of the past nine matchups overall and four in a row at Orlando.
Favors totaled 44 points and 23 rebounds to help Utah split last season's series. Tobias Harris led the Magic with a combined 46 points.