Eric Gordon doesn’t expect it to be seamless.
The Pelicans guard has missed 16 straight games with a fractured right ring finger, so when he returns to action for Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves — sporting a small wrap on two of his fingers — he figures there will be an adjustment period.
“I’m going to shoot at the same rate,” Gordon said Friday. “It’s just going to take time. When I go out there and play tomorrow, it’s always an adjustment for anybody that’s been out for a little bit, but I think I should be fine.”
Gordon was cleared on Friday for full contact at practice and to return to games. He’ll be in the starting lineup Saturday, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, when the Pelicans host the Timberwolves, the team against which Gordon broke his finger on Jan. 19.
Though he missed more than a month, Gordon’s 101 made 3-pointers still rank second on the Pelicans to Ryan Anderson’s 113. Gordon is averaging 14.9 points, 2.7 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game.
“It gives us another floor spacer,” Gentry said. “It gives us a guy that, he was playing pretty good basketball when he got hurt. Hopefully we can get him back there. It’s one of those things that, cardio-wise, he was able to keep everything up with his running and things like that. Obviously he’s going to be rusty from the standpoint of the shooting part of it and all of that.”
Gordon said there will be “a little bit of pain and swelling,” but not enough for him to continue sitting.
“I just wanted to get to a point where I’m able to be out there to play and try to be somewhat comfortable,” Gordon said. “It’s going to take time to heal even more. It’s going to get better. I just want to be out there where I can be able to shoot and dribble without too much problem.”
As Gordon returns, Bryce Dejean-Jones is exiting.
The rookie shooting guard — who signed with the Pelicans on a 10-day contract after Gordon was hurt, then worked his way to a partially guaranteed multi-year deal — had surgery on his right wrist Friday morning and will miss the remainder of the season.
Dejean-Jones played in 14 games this season and started 11, averaging 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.