Aminu sidelined with knee injury
— and it’s a good opportunity for some guys, for sure,” he said.
Last year, the Magic lost reserve point guard Isaiah Briscoe for the final two months of the regular season and the playoffs after he sustained a torn meniscus.
Aminu’s absence will further thin the Magic’s lineup against the Warriors. Orlando also will be without starting center Nikola Vucevic (ankle sprain) and reserve guard Michael Carter-Williams (left hip irritation).
Vucevic has missed the past four games while Carter-Williams has been out the past five games.
Magic coach Steve Clifford said Aminu’s absence robs the team of size, defense and another veteran presence on the floor.
Clifford said with Aminu out that Wes Iwundu will slide into the playing rotation. Iwundu started games in Indianapolis, Detroit and Cleveland on the team’s recent four-game road trip in place of injured Aaron Gordon.
Looking ahead, if Aminu remains out for a significant amount of time, the Magic still have a roster spot open and no longer have Timofey Mozgov’s $5.6 million salary on their books for this season. The NBA removed his money after the Magic were granted an injury/illness waiver on Mozgov.
Orlando sits roughly $7.8 million under the luxury tax, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. He also reports the Magic now have a $10.7 million buffer on the hard cap.
Orlando signed Aminu to a three-year deal during the offseason. The reserve forward had appeared in all 18 of Orlando’s games before Sunday. D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier and Markelle Fultz are the only other Magic players to have appeared in all of the first 18 games.
Aminu is averaging 4.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and a 1.0 steal in 21.1 minutes per game. He made two starts in place of injured Jonathan Isaac, averaging 9.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as the Magic beat the San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Wizards.
Among the team’s regular rotation players, Aminu’s 100.0 defensive rating ranks second only to Mo Bamba’s 99.0 mark.