Maybe Anthony Davis’ shoulder had finally had enough.
Perhaps the burden of trying to carry this injury-riddled team back to the playoffs for a second straight season was too much for any of us to really ask of him.
The Pelicans announced Sunday that they are shutting A.D. down for the rest of the season.
The reason? A torn labrum that coach Alvin Gentry said A.D. has battled all season and a left knee injury suffered Friday when trying to set a screen in a game against Portland.
The Pelicans’ decision to rest Davis for the rest of the year just so happened to come on the same day that Hollywood produced a nationally televised live musical called “The Passion” in the streets of New Orleans.
If you know that story, it ends with a resurrection.
Unfortunately for Pelicans fans, there is no resurrecting this season.
Sunday’s decision put the final nail in the coffin for a season that was dead long before Sunday.
With just 13 games remaining, sidelining A.D. was the best thing to do.
There’s nothing to gain (other than more pingpong balls for the NBA draft lottery) and everything to lose at this point.
Any medical procedures that Davis will need to have done to get back to 100 percent can be started on now instead of waiting until season’s end, giving him more time to work out and come back healthier for next season.
Gentry and general manager Dell Demps can use these last 13 games to evaluate some of the other players on the roster. (Assuming there are enough healthy players left on the roster as the season comes to a close.)
The team had seven players (Davis, Ryan Anderson, Norris Cole, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, Quincy Pondexter and Bryce Dejean-Jones) missing due to injuries from Sunday’s game against the Clippers.
Alexis Ajinca, who had missed time with an injured sternum, returned Sunday.
It left the Pelicans with a roster averaging just 59.5 points per game and a starting lineup averaging just 36.5.
Somehow, the Pelicans found a way to squeak out a 109-105 victory. They did so without Davis, who watched from the bench. Perhaps the blue blazer he was sporting was to represent his mood after having his season come to an end.
He finished the year averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks and is the only player in the league who ranks in the top 10 in all three of those categories. He scored 59 points in a game against the Pistons, the most points scored by any player in the league this season.
Those numbers could be enough to land him on the all-NBA team for a second straight year. If Davis doesn’t make it, he could be feeling as blue as that blazer.
Because of the “Rose Rule,” he could earn an extra $23 million if he makes the all-NBA team again. He made the first-team last season with similar numbers.
But last year’s Pelicans team reached the first round of the playoffs. He’ll be a third-team pick at best this year considering the Pelicans own the fifth-worst record in the league.
Sekou Smith of NBA.com isn’t so sure Davis will make it, either.
“His numbers look good,” Smith said, “but it’s hard to ignore the disappointment this season has been for A.D. and the Pelicans.”
He had already missed seven games in what had been an injury-plagued season and will now miss the final 14, including seven home games.
Here’s a silver lining for you season-ticket holders. At least you get a chance to see Kobe play one last time. Future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade also is on the guest list with the Heat coming to town Tuesday.
As the Pelicans limp to the finish line, Gentry called it the most frustrating season he has ever been a part of.
Fortunately for Gentry and Pelicans fans, the frustration (at least for this year) is almost over.
The finish line — April 11 is the finale — is near. A.D. won’t be carrying the team to it.
The load was too heavy.
Maybe next year.