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Knee problems slow two Magic players

Orlando Magic trainer Lenny Currier was applying ice to power forward Terry Catledge's knees following Tuesday's lengthy practice. The talk in the locker room, though, was about the medical problems of rookie Dennis Scott.

Scott, the team's first-round draft choice from Georgia Tech, could miss tonight's preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Arena (7:30 start) because of patella tendinitis in his right knee. Doctors advised him Monday to rest at least two days.

"Hey, my knee hurts, too," said Catledge, who missed Monday's practice to see a physician about his sore left knee.

These are not the healthiest of times for the Magic (4-1 in preseason).

Shooting guard Otis Smith's right hamstring is still causing problems. And center Sidney Green is recovering from a sore hamstring and groin.

None of the injuries are considered serious, but they are causing glitches in the work schedule of coach Matt Guokas. Three preseason games remain, and the regular-season opener is nine days away.

"I'm alarmed by it (injuries)," said Guokas, who eliminated two-a-day workouts. "We have three games and only about four or five practices left."

Smith, who re-injured his hamstring last week, has been cleared to play tonight.

For Scott, who has been working on his conditioning, this is an ill-timed injury. He is a first-year player trying to learn the league.

On the other hand, Catledge is returning from his best pro campaign (19.4 points a game last year). But he has struggled early and will come off the bench behind Jeff Turner for the second consecutive game.

"I'm concerned about his knees," Guokas said of Catledge. "He hasn't gotten a lot of playing time in the games. But it hasn't been a sharp, crisp preseason (for him)."

Catledge said his sore knees are the result of playing in more than 350 NBA contests.

"I really can't explode after the ball and box out (for rebounds). My knee tends to give out."

Turner, meanwhile, isn't reading anything into his starting assignment.

"We've had a lot of injuries. I'm getting the playing time. I just have to be ready," he said.

After five preseason games, Turner is averaging 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and is shooting 70 percent from the floor (14-for-20). Catledge is averaging 9.4 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 37.2 percent (16-for-43).

"Jeff is getting the opportunity and taking advantage of it," Guokas said.

Notes: About 1,400 tickets remain for tonight's game. Atlanta coach Bob Weiss was an Orlando assistant last season. The Hawks (3-2) will present a new-look backcourt, with rookie Rumeal Robinson at point guard and veteran Doc Rivers moving to shooting guard.

Wingate to stand trial Jan. 7 on rape charges

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. _ San Antonio Spur David Wingate will go on trial Jan. 7 on charges of raping a 17-year-old girl, the prosecutor said Tuesday.

Deputy State's Attorney Dwight Thompson said the trial date was set at a hearing in Howard County Circuit Court.

Wingate, 26, is charged with second-degree rape, battery and a fourth-degree sexual offense.

The alleged victim said she was attacked during a party at his apartment in Columbia, Md., on Sept. 16.

He told police she had consented to have sexual intercourse.

The girl told police she was unable to resist Wingate because she was drunk on beer and tequila.

A 21-year-old woman charged Wingate last month in a civil suit in San Antonio, alleging he sexually assaulted her in June.

Golden State expected to sign veteran Johnson

OAKLAND _ Barring unforeseen developments, the Golden State Warriors are expected to sign veteran NBA center Steve Johnson to a one-year contract.

"I think we'll probably decide Wednesday," team president Dan Finnane said. "We don't have a deal, and he hasn't seen all the people yet. He's got to finish his physical, and he hasn't seen the conditioning coach."

_ Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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