Jason Smith out indefinitely with knee injury
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Just when you may have thought the New Orleans Pelicans’ recent stream of bad news on the injury front couldn’t possibly get any worse – it got worse. The Pelicans announced Saturday afternoon that starting center Jason Smith is out indefinitely due to a right knee injury. An MRI revealed that Smith has cartilage damage.
The 7-footer joins Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday on the team’s injury list. Anderson may eventually be ruled out for remainder of 2013-14, but he must wait approximately two months before doctors can determine if he needs surgery for a herniated disc injury. Holiday is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right tibia. Meanwhile, Tyreke Evans has missed the past week of games due to a left ankle injury, but Evans may be able to make his return to the court tonight vs. Golden State (7 p.m., Fox Sports New Orleans, Pelicans Radio Network).
Combined with Smith’s injury absence, if Evans is unable to play against the Warriors, the Pelicans will be without four of their top six leading scorers in 2013-14. Only Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon are definites for Saturday’s game among that six-man group, but even those two key players missed games in recent weeks with a broken left hand and bruised right hip, respectively.
It’s uncertain who’ll replace Smith at starting center, but when Smith was out in early January, Alexis Ajinca was elevated to the role for five games. The Pelicans have a total of 14 players on their roster, so they will have no more than 11 healthy players available against the Warriors. If Evans is unable to play, that number drops to 10.