Heading into Friday, the Orlando Magic’s 102-89 home loss to the Toronto Raptors was expected to be a showcase of two Rookie of the Year candidates.
That lasted for just 20 seconds.
Franz Wagner sprained his left ankle on the game’s first possession after trying to “pull the chair” on Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes while FSU and Montverde Academy alum Barnes was posting up on the right block.
Wagner limped off the court at 11:40 in the first quarter and was later ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Two-way player Ignas Brazdeikis (13 points on 5-of-7 shooting) subbed in for Wagner and started the second half in his place.
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley didn’t have an update on Wagner postgame.
“We’re going to have to see how he pulls up [Saturday],” Mosley said, “and pray it’s not serious.”
Wagner, the No. 8 pick in last year’s draft, has started in all 78 games so far this season.
He’s the only rookie and one of only three players league-wide to start in every one of their team’s games.
Wagner entered Friday averaging 15.5 points (46.8% shooting, 35.7% on 3-pointers), 4.6 rebounds and 3 assists.
He and Barnes, who finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds an 7 assists, have been top-five Rookie of the Year candidates for most of the season.
Barnes entered Friday with the second-best odds to win the award behind Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley while Wagner had the fourth-best odds behind Mobley, Barnes and Detroit Pistons guard/forward Cade Cunningham, according to Vegas Insider.
“It’s a special group,” Mosley said about the 2021 draft class, which includes Magic rookie Jalen Suggs, the No. 5 pick in the draft.
Suggs missed his ninth consecutive game because of a bone bruise in his right ankle. Wendell Carter Jr. also sat for the fourth time in five games because of a sprained left wrist.
“There’s a spirit and energy about the way they play the game,” Mosley added about the rookie class. There’s a competitive spirit about each one of these guys. They want to win. They want to compete. That’s really shown with a lot of these guys.”
Without Wagner, the Magic (20-58) lost their fifth consecutive game to stay at the bottom of the league’s standings.
The Raptors (45-32), who entered Friday with the league’s best defensive turnover rate, scored 32 points off Orlando’s 21 turnovers.
Toronto had six players score 10-plus points, including Fred VanVleet (19 points, 5 steals, 5 rebounds and 3 assists).
Mo Bamba had 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. Markelle Fultz recorded 12 points (5 of 13), 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 20 minutes.
Devin Cannady, who signed a 10-day contract with the Magic from the team’s G League team — the Lakeland Magic — Thursday, scored 9 points on 3-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc in 28 minutes.