New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday said he practiced with the team Monday and went through its walkthrough during shootaround Tuesday. But it doesn’t appear he will return this season.
With only six games left in the regular season, coach Monty Williams had said after Monday’s practice that he still hoped Holiday would return “even if in a limited role,” certainly in the event the team makes the playoffs.
Holiday, who has been sidelined since Jan. 12 with a right lower-leg stress reaction, has missed 39 games.
He did not rule out a return but said the leg is not where he’d like it to be.
“I’ve been on the court a little bit,” Holiday said before Tuesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors at the Smoothie King Center. “It’s been a little sore, but we’ll see where it goes.”
The long term also is an issue for a 25-year-old player in the prime of his career and who has been an All-Star. Holiday said he and his doctor will make the final determination on whether to play.
“Obviously, (they’re) trying to figure out the problem and execute that issue,” he said. “It’s going to take time.
“I still feel something there. Depending on how I move or whatever, the pain can increase. Obviously when I stop (working out), it starts to decrease faster. It just depends on how it reacts.”
Golden State guard Justin Holiday, Jrue’s brother, said he would like for Jrue to be patient and let the leg heal completely.
He said the reason Jrue is wrestling with his decision is that he wants to help the Pelicans make the playoffs. It would be the franchise’s first postseason berth since 2011.
“You play, you make the playoffs, you may be OK,” said Justin Holiday, 26. “At the same time, if its not feeling well now, more than likely, it’s going to get worse.”
Holiday, though, intimated he is wary of disrupting the chemistry the team has built during the playoff chase. Heading into Tuesday night’s games, the Pelicans (41-35) were a half-game behind Oklahoma City in the chase for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff berth game.
New Orleans had won five of its past six games heading into Tuesday.
“These guys are on the brink of doing something really well,” Jrue Holiday said. “They have a really good groove. If I possibly come back, I just want to fit in.”
Asked if it wouldn’t just be wise to return until next season, Holiday said: “As a player and a competitor, that’s tough to do, especially with what’s going on now.
“Again, I’m going to take my time and see where it goes and whatever we decide is the best decision is what we’re going to do.”
Guard Tyreke Evans said Holiday ran a few plays in Monday’s practice, but he couldn’t gauge his progress.
“He’s taking it one step at a time,” Evans said. “I don’t think he’s trying to rush anything back. He’s just trying to get that game rhythm going a little bit, get his body going, get his game flow going. Practicing against us — we play in the games — will help him be ready to go when it’s time to go.”