Cheers quickly turned to gasps inside the Smoothie King Center.
On a fast break midway through the second quarter of Saturday’s game, Anthony Davis outran a pair of Chicago defenders then leapt into the air as Tyreke Evans lofted a pass toward the goal. Davis reached out just in time to get his outstretched, oversized arms onto the ball and jammed home an off-balance alley-oop.
But he couldn’t get his legs underneath him. And when his hands slipped off the rim, Davis’ head and shoulder smacked against the floor, immediately drawing the attention of the Pelicans’ medical staff and coach Monty Williams.
Although Davis proceeded to shake off the blow and remain on the court, he was noticeably bothered by his right shoulder and minutes later removed himself from the game, retreating to the locker room, where he watched the remainder of the Pelicans’ 107-72 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
“We all felt bad when he hit the floor,” Williams said. “He said he’s a bit sore right now, and he couldn’t move his arm the way he needed to, so we got him out.”
After initially being listed as questionable, Davis didn’t return. The team conducted X-rays in the locker room, which came back negative, and the injury was officially listed as a right shoulder contusion.
Williams said Davis will be re-evaluated Sunday morning, and his status for Monday’s home game against Utah is still uncertain.
It’s the second mid-game injury Davis has suffered in the past month, straining his groin in a 95-83 loss to the Nuggets on Jan. 28. Although the MRI came back negative following thatinjury, Davis missed the Pelicans’ next game, a 108-103 win over the Clippers.
“When he goes down like that, your first inclination is to get him out,” Williams said. “When you hit the floor that hard, you just feel bad for him. He kept saying he was OK, but for me, it was like the other time he went down. I saw that look in his eye. When he couldn’t get back and gave me that look, I knew tonight that I had to get him out. The doctors didn’t feel good about getting him back out, so we have to get more evaluations.”
Recently acquired guard Toney Douglas provided New Orleans with one of its rare sparks in the blowout loss.
Upon entering the game with the Pelicans trailing by 24 points, Douglas made a quick impression by converting a 3-pointer from the corner, a possession before utilizing a slick behind-the-back pass to find Quincy Pondexer for a dunk, trimming the deficit.
It was part of a 5-point, three assist and two steal effort in 16 minutes of playing time.
“I thought he gave us some good stuff,” Williams said. “He was running all over the place and attacking the basket, and then he hit that exhaustion wall but kept going. Defensively, he gets all over the ball, and that’s something I like from a point guard.”
Although Douglas’ contribution failed to make much of a difference in the game’s result, it did provide a glimpse into the potential of the latest 10-day contract signee. Douglas is the third guard brought in on a short-term deal this season, following Gal Mekel and Nate Wolters, neither of whom made enough of an impact to lock down the roster spot.
Unlike Wolters and Mekel, Douglas has a prolonged NBA background, stretching over five years and 297 career games in which he averaged 7.8 points.
The Pelicans opened the game scoreless for the first 3 minutes, 30 seconds before Evans finally tallied a layup, spurring a 6-0 run. ...The shot clocks in the Smoothie King Center malfunctioned midway though the first quarter, forcing arena’s PA announcer to count down the final five seconds of the shot clock on each possession for nearly an entire quarter. ...Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy missed Saturday’s game with an injured right foot. ...Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was suspended for one game after head-butting Evans on Friday night.