Tyreke Evans will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing successful knee surgery on Thursday, the team officially announced.
It was Evans’ third surgery since May and the second on the ailing right knee since October. He was forced to miss the first 17 games of the season due to arthroscopic surgery during preseason camp, then had to miss the last nine games when the knee acted up again.
In between, he averaged 15.2 points, 6.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds while logging 30 minutes per night in 25 starts.
He experienced different levels of pain and swelling in the joint during December and January, forced to drain his knee prior to a handful of games. But the situation escalated in on Jan. 25 when Evans was forced to leave a 112-111 loss to the Houston Rockets after experiencing a sharp pain that slowed his production and athletic burst.
Coach Alvin Gentry removed Evans from the game midway through the third quarter that night, when he noticed the guard laboring. Evans hasn’t played since.
“One thing about him: He is as solid as they come as far as getting out there and playing through it,” Gentry said in January. “As a coach, I’ve got to monitor it more for his own protection, really, because I think he is the type of guy that, he’s going to try to get out there to play.”
Since coming to New Orleans from Sacramento in a 2013 trade, Evans earned a reputation as the Pelicans’ most reliable contributor, missing just 13 games in his first two seasons, while nearly every other member of the roster suffered through prolonged injuries.
Now, Evans joins small forward Quincy Pondexter (knee cartilage) in being officially declared out for the remainder of the season before the All-Star break.
“I communicate good with the trainers, let them know how I feel, even though I want to play bad as anything,” Evans said. “If I don’t play, you know it’s really bothering me.”
Devoid of Dejean-Jones
The Pelicans was without another starter Thursday night.
This time it’s because of an to injury. Starting shooting guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is not currently under contract with the Pelicans, since his second 10-day deal expired on Wednesday night.
He was unavailable for New Orleans Thursday in its contest against Oklahoma City. He didn’t even board the team plane, despite averaging 26.4 minutes during the past eight games, where he averaged 8.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 42.6 percent shooting.
In his place, the Pelicans started just one guard, Norris Cole, opting to keep Jrue Holiday as its top guard off of the bench. The limited backcourt rotation forced Gentry opted to start forwards, Alonzo Gee, Dante Cunningham and Anthony Davis as well as center Omer Asik.
It’s uncertain whether Dejean-Jones will return to the roster following the week-long All-Star break, which starts on Friday.
Sources familiar with the situation say the Pelicans and Dejean-Jones have been in contract negotiations for several weeks trying to hammer out a deal to not only keep the rookie in New Orleans for the remainder of the season, but for multiple years on a rookie-scale contract.
Dejean-Jones has also been contacted by other franchises looking to add the former Iowa State standout.
Both the Pelicans and Dejean-Jones are hopeful he can come to an agreement with New Orleans during the All-Star break, which would allow him to play when the second half of the season opens on Feb. 19 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I like it here,” Dejean-Jones said in January. “I think the system suits me well and I was given the chance to go out and play and make the most of it. I mean, I’m on a 10-day so you only have so many chances to prove yourself and they’re giving them to me.”