The Pelican Blog

Pelicans Day 1 training camp notebook

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

eric_gordon_camp_250x248.jpgNew Orleans Pelicans fans will be watching closely throughout preseason to see how Monty Williams fills out his starting lineup and rotation, but it’s likely the first few games won’t provide a complete picture of his plans. On Tuesday, Williams told local reporters that shooting guard Eric Gordon is not expected to be able to play in an exhibition game for “about two weeks.” Gordon participated in practice but is being monitored as he progresses in his conditioning following offseason ankle surgery.

“He’s ramping up, getting his conditioning back, since he just got his release from the doctors,” Williams said. “He’s moving toward the type of conditioning he needs to be in. I don’t want him to go out there full bore and pull a hamstring or something, because he hasn’t been going (physically) as long as the other guys have.”

The Pelicans open preseason Saturday at Houston (7 p.m. Central, Pelicans Radio Network). In other news:

• Williams on Jason Smith (shoulder surgery), who was recently cleared for contact and practiced Tuesday: “He looked pretty good. No restrictions at all. He didn’t show any signs of soreness.”

• Williams on plans for his rotation and reserve unit: “I have thought a lot about it, but it will become more clear as we see certain guys on the floor in practice and how they gel. I do like the idea of Tyreke (Evans), Ryan (Anderson) and Jason playing together in our second unit, so I want to get a really good look at that. But I do think it’s going to evolve as we have more practice time.”

• Evans was accidentally struck in the thigh by a teammate’s knee during practice, but was OK.

• Austin Rivers spent all of his time in practice at point guard instead of shooting guard, his natural position.

• During the portion of practice that was open to the media, Anthony Morrow was at shooting guard, along with Jrue Holiday, Al-Farouq Aminu, Anthony Davis and Greg Stiemsma.

• Williams on new camp invitee Rodney Carney, a five-year NBA veteran small forward: “Rodney’s been in the league. He’s athletic and has the ability to shoot the ball. Certainly with his athleticism, he should be able to defend. But we certainly needed another wing.”