Anfernee Hardaway and Darrell Armstrong were not the only NBA players using the lockout to heal wounds. Newly drafted forward Matt Harpring was doing the same. Harpring would have a more than respectable rookie season thanks to his scrappy play. Of course that toughness would cut short his sophomore season in the association. Matt's entire career would be marred by injuries. We'd ship him out to Cleveland for Andrew DeClercq in 2000.
To Orlando Magic rookie Matt Harpring, the NBA lockout isn't all bad.Harpring, a forward from Georgia Tech, has been using the time wisely to recover from surgery to both ankles late last month.
Removed were bone spurs, which had caused him considerable pain late in his senior season.
``He would have been chewing nails right now if he was missing rookie camp or any workouts the Magic were holding,'' said Richard Howell, Harpring's agent. ``The surgery would have been bad timing, if not for the lockout. As it turns out, he's fortunate.''
Harpring, one of three first-round draft picks the Magic made in June, struggled physically at the end of his college career and was slowed during the few individual workouts he had with NBA teams before the draft.
Now, instead of falling behind because of surgery, he is gaining ground.
``When he comes back, he'll be healthier than he was when he worked out for the Magic before surgery,'' Howell said. ``He's a tough kid, a competitor, but he just couldn't play through this anymore.''
The Magic were aware of Harpring's surgery, but the lockout that went into effect July 1 has prevented any contact between the team and Harpring.
He had the surgery in New York. His rehabilitation has been in Atlanta, where his parents and Howell live.
Harpring missed only one game and two practices in his four years at Georgia Tech. Howell estimates an eight-week recovery period, which should put him back at 100 percent before training camps are scheduled to open the first week of October.
The lockout also has prevented any of the rookies - Utah center Michael Doleac and University of Nevada-Las Vegas forward/center Keon Clark are the other two - from signing their rookie contracts, or even being at the Magic's workout facility.
In addition to Harpring, Magic veterans Darrell Armstrong and Penny Hardaway also have been using the summer to strengthen themselves after injuries. Hardaway has begun light basketball workouts in Memphis, Tenn., fully recovered from his left calf injury.
Armstrong, whose season was shortened by surgery to repair a torn right (shooting) rotator cuff, also is in Atlanta, and he has begun shooting drills.
``I've still got some soreness in the shoulder, but that's fine. It's not pain anymore,'' Armstrong said from his home in Atlanta. ``I'm on schedule, probably ahead of schedule.''
Armstrong is a free agent, hoping to re-sign with the Magic. The Magic have said they want to re-sign him.
``I have a great relationship with the Magic. I'm confident I'll be back,'' he said.
``I'm still hoping this labor thing gets settled quickly. I can't imagine either side wanting to take a chance and do what baseball did - turn off the fans - by their fighting.''