Pelicans starting shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones fractured his wrist and is scheduled to have surgery on Friday, the team announced.
Sources close to the situation told The Advocate the injury is expected to sideline Dejean-Jones for six-to-eight weeks, which he later confirmed, making the rookie’s return this season questionable.
However, help may arrive soon to make up for his absence.
Eric Gordon, who has been sidelined since Jan. 19 with a fractured ring finger in his shooting hand, told The Advocate he expects to return to the lineup “any day now” and is actively working on his shooting in an effort to get back.
“We’ll see what happens (on Friday) to see whether or not I’m ready to go,” Gordon said. “Doctors are looking at me every week to see how it’s progressing. I mean, it’s progressing well, but it’s not 100 percent there. But I’m not going to wait until I’m 100 percent to play, because I really think as long as I can do most of what I need to that it’s time to get back out there and help these guys.”
Meanwhile, the Pelicans played Thursday night’s game against the Thunder with just 10 active players following the revelation of Dejean-Jones’ wrist fracture.
He played through pain over the past two games after initially injuring the wrist while falling to the ground during the Pelicans’ win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 19. Still, Dejean-Jones logged 41 combined minutes, making 2-of-8 field goal attempts, over the next two games before being officially diagnosed following an MRI on Thursday.
“I just realized it now, but it was from that moment (against Philadelphia),” Dejean-Jones said. “I was just playing through it, and I didn’t think about it until afterward. I just wanted to help the team win. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
After starting the season in the NBA Developmental League, Dejean-Jones quickly rose from an afterthought on a 10-day contract to a starter after both Tyreke Evans and Gordon suffered prolonged injuries.
He signed a three-year contract on Feb. 18, which guaranteed his roster spot through the remainder of this season, and sources said he received a portion of guaranteed money for next season but is not assured of a roster spot. The third year of his contract is a team option.
“It has been a positive experience overall,” Dejean-Jones said. “I’m just trying to stay positive about it and go through treatment and try to get better.”
He started in his last 11 appearances, helping the Pelicans tally a 6-5 record in that stretch.
It made Thursday night’s starting lineup the 26th different one coach Alvin Gentry has put together this season, with Alonzo Gee filling Dejean-Jones’ spot.
“It’s from when he hurt it the other day,” Gentry said. “There had been some questions about it. He’s going to miss some time. We’ll just have to see.”