The final game of the New Orleans Pelicans’ two-game trip to China went poorly on multiple levels. Of course there was the 116-104 loss to the Houston Rockets in Beijing. But of greater importance with the start of the regular season less than two weeks away was the injury suffered by star forward Anthony Davis.
Here’s what you need to know about Davis’ injury, how long he could be out of the lineup and his injury history in the NBA.
1. Davis suffered the injury to his right ankle during the first quarter
Attempting to dribble past Nene on the left side of the court, Davis took a dribble and rolled his right ankle as a result of stepping on Nene’s foot. Davis fell to the court in pain, thus losing the basketball but play was stopped due to a foul called on the Houston Rockets’ big man. Davis would return after the media timeout, but just over a minute later he was replaced by Dante Cunningham and did not return to the game. Davis played just seven minutes in the defeat, finishing with two points on 1-for-5 shooting.
2. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Davis has a grade 2 sprain
Spears reported the severity of the injury and a possible timeframe of 10-15 days shortly after the completion of the game via Twitter.
The prognosis places Davis right up against the start of the regular season, with the Pelicans scheduled to face the Nuggets in their regular season opener on October 26. New Orleans has two exhibition games remaining on their schedule, as they play the Hawks next Tuesday (October 18) and the Magic a week from Thursday (October 20). Even on the short end of the reported timeframe Davis would miss both exhibitions, but in comparison to the regular season missing a couple games that don’t truly count isn’t a big deal when it comes to the Pelicans’ prospects this year.
3. New Orleans is already down three key contributors in guards Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans and wing Quincy Pondexter
Davis’ injury may bring about a case of “here we go again” within the Pelicans fan base, not only because of his medical history but also because of how much health issues hampered last season’s group. The Pelicans missed a total of 351 man games last season, the most in the NBA and with 21 players seeing action first-year head coach Alvin Gentry was forced to use 42 different starting lineups.
Now, Davis’ ankle sprain gets added to the early list as New Orleans was already without expected key contributors Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. Holiday is out indefinitely as he cares for his wife, who after giving birth to the couple’s first child will soon have a benign tumor removed from her brain. As for Evans, he’s likely out until December (that’s the hope at least) after undergoing knee surgery in February. And Pondexter, who underwent a second surgery on his left knee in March and did not play at all in 2015-16, is out indefinitely.
4. Davis missed 21 games last season, including the final 14 due to knee and shoulder ailments
Averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season, Davis was once again one of the NBA’s most productive power forwards. The issue was that he had to deal with health issues, resulting in his playing just 61 of a possible 82 games for a team that finished 30-52. Davis missed six games prior to the All-Star break, with the other 15 being missed in the second half of the season.
As a result of a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder and a left knee injury Davis was shut down for the remainder of the season on March 21, thus missing the final 14 games of the campaign. Davis underwent a surgical procedure to correct the knee issue, with it being determined that the partially torn labrum in his shoulder did not require surgery.
5. Davis has missed at least 14 games in each of his first four NBA seasons
Drafted first overall out of Kentucky by the Pelicans in the 2012 NBA Draft, Davis entered the NBA with high hopes of being a superstar in the coming years. And while on the court Davis has managed to live up to the promise, averaging 20.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his four-year NBA career. But staying healthy has been the issue for the Chicago native, who has played in no more than 67 games (2013-14) in any of his four seasons with the Pelicans.
During his rookie season Davis was sidelined due to a medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee, and he missed part of his third season due to a right shoulder sprain suffered in early February 2015. Davis, who would be named First Team All-NBA at the end of that season, was forced to sit out the All-Star game as a result.