Pelicans shut down Anthony Davis for remainder of season

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Anthony Davis’ season is over. Alvin Gentry told reporters during his pregame media session Sunday that New Orleans has decided to shut down the three-time All-Star for the remaining 14 games of 2015-16, a decision that factors in the 23-year-old’s left knee and shoulder injuries.

“We’re going to shut him down. He’s done for the year,” Gentry said. “It’s unfortunate, but he’s got an issue with his shoulder that he’s played with the whole season. It’s amazing when people talk about him being soft or whatever; they don’t understand that he’s played through a situation with his shoulder the entire season.”

Along with what appears to have been a season-long issue with his shoulder, Davis injured his left knee Friday vs. Portland, when he was contacted by Portland’s C.J. McCollum and teammate Jrue Holiday. The knee also needs treatment.

“He has an issue with his knee that we’re going to get corrected,” Gentry said. “I think for us, we have to look at things long term, and we have to look at what’s best for the future of our franchise. For that reason, he won’t play anymore this season.”

Gentry declined to delve into specifics of the injuries, deferring to medical staff.

“It’s something that needs to be done and needs time to heal,” Gentry said of the knee injury. “The same thing with his shoulder. I’m sure you can find out from the doctors or the trainers, but I don’t really want to get into it and try to explain all the aspects of it (from a medical expertise standpoint).”

Asked whether the injuries could impact Davis’ potential participation in the Olympics later this year, Gentry said he wasn’t sure, “but if I was a betting man, probably so.”

The first-year Pelicans head coach expressed disappointment on behalf of Davis, who managed to play in 61 of the team’s first 68 games.

“He’s disappointed. Very disappointed,” Gentry said. “He loves playing and wants to be good. He feels a huge obligation to try to make this team better, try to get them back to where they were last year, making the playoffs. The reality of it all is the injuries have decimated our season. All we can do is continue to play hard and try to regroup.”

During his 61 games on the floor this season, Davis averaged 24.3 points and a career-high 10.3 rebounds, nearly identical numbers to last season, when he put up 24.4 and 10.2 in those categories. Along the way, he set a franchise record by pouring in 59 points at Detroit on Feb. 21, surpassing his previous single-game career high of 43 points.

Davis joins a lengthy list of New Orleans players who are out for the season. That group includes several key players from the ’15 playoff-qualifying squad, including fourth- and fifth-leading scorers Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans. A starter at small forward during the playoffs last season, Quincy Pondexter missed the entire 2015-16 campaign with a knee injury. Rookie wing Bryce Dejean-Jones also is out for the rest of this season with a broken wrist.