The Pelican Blog

Jason Smith will return to action at Miami

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

MIAMI – After missing the past four games due to a left shoulder injury, New Orleans Pelicans center Jason Smith will be back on the court tonight against the Miami Heat. Tip-off of the game between the Pelicans and Heat is at 6:30 p.m. Central (Fox Sports New Orleans, NBA TV).

“He’s OK to go full bore,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said of the 7-footer. “Obviously I’m not going to play him 40 minutes. Jason doesn’t operate well with that kind of a load. He should help us a lot tonight.”

New Orleans (15-17) went 2-2 during the four recent games missed by Smith, who started at center over the initial 24 games of 2013-14. He returned Dec. 28 at Houston and came off the bench, but after 15 minutes that night was sidelined again.

Smith’s return comes hours after the Pelicans announced that Ryan Anderson will be out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his neck, meaning there is no timetable for his return.

“When you have a disc issue, you never know,” Williams said. “I’m going to wait until I go home and talk to the doctors (to learn more specifics about the injury). When you lose someone like Ryan, it makes you readjust the thinking about your team, and yet I'm glad (a herniated disc) was all it was. When a guy is laying on the floor, you're thinking about him and his family. I'm glad it was a disc, because it could've been a lot worse."