Birch has been limited in Summer League play due to a lingering back injury, but the Magic elected to put him on the floor, mostly to allow Mo Bamba a rest day. Birch played in 42 games with the Magic last season, so one would think that he has an inside track to make the team, but it's expected that Bamba will start the season behind Nicola Vucevic, leaving Birch with the third unit in a best-case scenario. He will likely see some time at the four as well, but there isn't much wriggle room on the depth chart for Birch to have a significant fantasy impact.
Birch (back) will start during Thursday's summer league action against the Jazz, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Birch has been dealing with back soreness, but is feeling healthy enough to take the floor Thursday. Somewhat of a veteran by summer league standards, Birch saw 578 minutes with the Magic last season, averaging 4.2 points and 4.3 boards across 13.8 minutes per tilt.
Birch will sit out of Monday's summer league contest against the Suns with back tightness, John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com reports.
Birch sat out of Sunday's game with back tightness after tweaking his back on Friday. The injury doesn't seem to be anything serious, but the Magic likely won't be in any rush to get Birch back. More information should come out before the Magic's next game on Birch's status.
Birch will sit out Sunday's summer league matchup against the Grizzlies for rest purposes, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Birch had some strong stretches last season with the Magic as a reserve and ended up playing in 42 games as a rookie. Due to his experience, the Magic are going to give him the night off Sunday in what is likely an effort to get a better look at some of the more unproven talent on their summer league roster. The big man also played for Canada's national team recently, so it's also an effort to limit his workload this offseason. The Magic play again on Monday against the Suns, and there's a chance Birch is cleared for a return during that contest.
Birch scored 13 points (3-3 FG, 7-10 FT) to go with nine rebounds and one assist in 33 minutes during Wednesday's 101-92 win against Washington.
Birch finished the season with six straight games in double figures after only scoring twice in double digits before this stretch. The center finished his rookie season strong for Orlando, boosting his stock with the team heading into 2018-19. Moving forward, Birch will look to compete for minutes while backing up Nikola Vucevic at center next season. His last six games of the season were a good start, shooting 63.8 percent from the floor while averaging 11.3 points per game.
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