Jrue Holiday made his first public comments since re-injuring his leg, and the Pelicans’ point guard confirmed he will not need surgery.
He also said the stress fracture in his right leg is different than the fractured right tibia that kept him out for the final 48 games of last season, claiming there’s no “crack” in his shin this time around, but he’s still uncertain whether he can return to the court this year.
“I’ve got two weeks in this (protective walking) boot, and, we’ll see,” Holiday said prior to the Pelicans’ 102-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
After initially injuring the leg on Jan. 12, Holiday was slated to return last week but aggravated the fracture on Feb. 16 in a light workout, prompting the Pelicans to announce his timetable had been delayed and stating Holiday would be re-evaluated in two weeks.
“I guess, before, I wanted to push it to try to see if I could come back,” he said. “I guess, now, it’s about making sure my leg heals all the way. Once the boot comes off, we’ll see what’s up.”
In the meantime, Holiday visited a specialist in Los Angeles to undergo a non-surgical medical procedure.
In his absence, the Pelicans compiled a 11-8 record, remaining within reach of the No. 8 seed in the rugged Western Conference playoff race.
“We just have to wait to see how that last procedure worked out,” Pelicans’ coach Monty Williams said. “I know he is dying to get back on the floor, but it’s a medical thing right now and we want to make sure that procedure does what it’s supposed to do.”
For the second consecutive game and the fourth time this season, Pelicans’ guard Tyreke Evans played through an illness.
Following Monday’s 100-97 win over Toronto, Williams said Evans battled through a sickness that nearly kept him out, then said the effects were still lingering before tipoff on Wednesday.
“He couldn’t breathe and he was having trouble with congestion so I took him out,” Williams said about Monday’s win. “Then, later, I looked down to the bench and he was there and I said ‘come on’. He’s a gamer and he always wants to play. We just have to monitor where he is.”
Without the services of Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and Holiday, the Pelicans are reliant on Evans to produce offensively, but he’s struggled from the field since the All-Star break, making 23-of-53 shots including a 5-for-13 performance on Wednesday.
However, he hit his first three shots of the fourth quarter, helping push the Pelicans out to a 10-point lead in the final two minutes.
“I don’t want him out there thinking about (misses),” Williams said. “I want guys who are confident to take shots.”
Turn, turn, turn
The Pelicans notched a season high in turnovers, committing 20 in the win, topping the 18 giveaways it committed in a Jan. 12 loss to Boston.
Eric Gordon and Alexis Ajincia were the leading culprits with four each.
It didn’t take long to set the mark, as the Pelicans committed 17 turnovers in the first 30 minutes of game action. It also overwhelmed the most combined turnovers in consecutive games, following the 17 giveaways on Monday night.
Pelicans’ forward Quincy Pondenxter helped pick up the scoring slack, notching a career high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
Pondexter, who was originally drafted by New Orleans and played three years for Memphis, previously notched a career-high 22 points on Nov. 30, 2013, just a week before missing the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his foot.
He notched 20 points in the first three quarters but saved his best for last, draining a 3-pointer from the wing in the final minute that proved to be the dagger, putting New Orleans up 101-93.
New Orleans raced out on a 15-4 run to open the game, holding the Nets to 14 percent shooting in the first seven minutes ... Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez came off the Nets bench to combine for 28 first-half points in the first half ... Pineville native Markel Brown played his first professional game in his home state, notching eight points including a highlight-reel 360-degree dunk on a first-quarter breakaway ... Luke Babbitt converted two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.