Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- St. Jude patient, Carter Morris, 12, meets Pelican's player, Eric Gordon as New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach Monty Williams, who serves as a national ambassador for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, hosted an evening of basketball activities and a pizza party for local St. Jude patients and their families in New Orleans, La. on Monday, March 17, 2014.


New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon participated in shooting drills after Monday's practice, taking several 3-point shots.

But coach Monty Williams made sure to say that the activity was not an indication that Gordon's return from a torn left labrum is imminent.

“He's making progress,” Williams said. “How close, we're not sure. We're just going to start to ramp him up and see where his conditioning is and see how his shoulder responds to more each day. We have an idea when we feel like he can get back on the floor, but we're still not sure if his body is going to respond.”

Gordon was injured on Nov. 22 in a game at Utah when he tried to prevent Jazz guard Alec Burks from cutting to the basket. Williams said doctors put his rehabilitation time at six weeks. Jan. 2 marks the sixth week since the injury occurred.

Surgery was the other option, but Gordon opted not to have it after talking with players who've had the injury, including New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.

Surgery on the labrum, which is completely torn, would have required a six-month healing and rehabilitation process. Gordon chose to strengthen the muscles around it, which would allow him to play.

“Like I said from the start, Eric's done everything possible to avoid surgery,” Williams said. “That's a great sign. Most guys have the option to rehab and strengthen it, and he's worked really hard to get where he is.”

Williams said that although Gordon isn't ready to play just yet, where he is now is very encouraging. Gordon said as much on Dec. 22 while his was giving away 50 bicycles to youths at the Boys & Girls Club-West Bank.

“I've been playing some one-on-one, so it's looking very encouraging,” he said. “I don't want to get too excited and rush it, though. I don't want any setbacks.”

Williams said last week that Gordon's being out has affected the Pelicans' consistency because of what he brings – scoring, ball-handling and defense.