Stojakovic frustrated by injury setback

Saturday, March 13, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

One of the unnoticed aspects of Peja Stojakovic’s season until recently had been a completely injury-free 2009-10. Through the first 64 games, the small forward missed just two contests, and both were due to his attending to a personal matter while New Orleans was on an early-season road trip.

Stojakovic hoped to make it through the entire campaign with perfect health, but an abdominal injury in Monday’s win over Golden State has sidelined him for a minimum of two weeks. Stojakovic is hopeful to return to the floor before the season concludes, but it’s uncertain if he will do so.

“It was a gradual thing,” Stojakovic said of his right abdominal strain. “I had soreness in that area for the (previous) week or so. It happened to just get worse. In the game against the Warriors, in the second half I couldn’t pick up my leg. It felt so stiff and sore that they pulled me out of the game. The MRI showed that I have a strain and some inflammation in that area that will require rest.”

The 12-year NBA veteran hoped that he would be able to play through the injury, but said the team’s training and conditioning staff advised against it.

Stojakovic: “I asked the trainers, ‘If I felt a little soreness, can I play through it?’ They said, ‘No, you have to get rid of that soreness. If you don’t, it’s going to come back.’ ”

Asked whether the Hornets potentially being mathematically out of playoff contention would influence him to not return to the court, Stojakovic disagreed.

“I don’t think that way,” he responded. “If I feel right, why not (play)? I play basketball because I love playing basketball. It doesn’t matter if we are in the race or not. I love to be on the floor with my teammates. I would love to be able to finish the season (by playing).”