Eric Gordon has a new hand injury, but he’s an old hand at missing time in New Orleans.
There was the right knee surgery that cost him six weeks of the 2011-12 season and 20 games the following year. There was the left knee arthroscopy that cut his 2013-14 season short and the left shoulder that sidelined him for 21 games last season.
“I’ve dealt with injuries early on since I’ve been here,” Gordon said Friday. “I definitely didn’t want to miss any games this year. That was my for-sure No. 1 goal. Things happen that you can’t control, so I’m just going to look forward to getting back here pretty soon.”
That likely means four-to-six weeks for Gordon, who had surgery Wednesday for a fractured ring finger in his right hand. He planned to start the rehab process on Friday.
“I wish it could go faster, but it really can’t,” Gordon said. “You’ve got to make sure that the bone heals. I want to get back as fast as I can, but that timetable’s pretty realistic.”
Gordon is averaging 14.9 points per game, and his 101 3-pointers are a team high. The loss of his perimeter shooting is a blow, but one Gordon said the Pelicans can overcome. Still, he admitted some frustration not only in failing to complete a fully healthy season, but of being sidelined just as the Pelicans showed signs of life as a team. New Orleans has won four of five, including its only game without Gordon.
“It is what it is,” Gordon said. “We have a talented team, enough to still get wins and put ourselves in a position to still be a playoff team.”
Finding his footing
Omer Asik made a tough catch. He finished at the rim. He set good screens.
In short, the Pelicans center did on Thursday against the Pistons most everything New Orleans can ask of him offensively. Asik had a season-high 12 points against Detroit, just his second double-digit scoring game of the season.
Asik isn’t and won’t be an offensive force for the Pelicans. But a calf injury in the preseason made him look like a liability upon his return. He’s been rounding back into form since.
In his past nine games, Asik is averaging 5.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, well up from his season averages of 3.4 and 5.4.
“I just feel much healthier and much more confident than the beginning of the season,” Asik said Friday. “It’s hard to come back from a calf injury as a big guy because it is a lot of weight on the legs. I have much more confidence on my legs. I feel better now physically.”
The Pelicans entered Friday’s games four games behind Sacramento for the eight and final Western Conference playoff spot. And though New Orleans has three more teams to vault before it can catch the Kings, the Pelicans are aware they’re at least in striking distance as they continue a seven-game homestand.
“It’s not a lot of games, and we’ve got five more home games where we can close that gap,” forward Anthony Davis said. “We took care of the first two, but we’ve still got to do the same for the next five.”
Davis said the Pelicans have their sights set on a climb up the standings.
“We want to get there or (be) one, maybe even two games out before the All-Star break,” Davis said. “We can definitely do it. We’ve just got to keep realizing what’s getting us wins.”