Gordon Excited to Make Return vs. Nuggets

Gordon Excited to Make Return vs. Nuggets
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
April 3, 2012

When analyzing the New Orleans Hornets’ 2011-12 season and won-loss record, it’s difficult not to wonder what might have been if projected top player and No. 1 scorer Eric Gordon had been available for more than two of the team’s first 53 games. With 13 games remaining on the schedule, however, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard hopes to provide a glimpse of what the team and Hornets fans have been missing.

After being sidelined from game action since Jan. 4, the fourth-year NBA veteran told the local media on Tuesday afternoon that he expects to be in uniform Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets, exactly three months since his last appearance.

"I’m looking forward to playing (Wednesday),” said Gordon, who stressed that he’s focused on helping the Hornets close the season in strong fashion after they went 11-36 while he was injured. “I look forward to winning. That’s the key, No. 1 thing. I know a lot of people are looking for my individual play, and that will come, but I’m looking forward to winning."

The 23-year-old has been rehabilitating his right knee since undergoing surgery Feb. 14. He recently began to participate in practices and 5-on-5, full-court play. Although New Orleans was recently officially eliminated from playoff contention, Gordon believes it’s important for the Hornets to produce more victories as they head into the offseason.

"That’s a good amount of games," Gordon said of the team’s 13 remaining contests, 10 of which are against playoff contenders. "Especially if you’re winning and surprising a lot of people. No matter what the number (of games) is – it could be eight (games), and you could win five or six games in a row. You never know. I’m basically looking forward to winning."

From an individual standpoint, in an extremely small sample Gordon demonstrated his ability to carry the Hornets’ offense, averaging 21.0 points. The club’s second-leading scorer is Jarrett Jack, at 15.6 points per game. Gordon also sank the game-winning jumper in the Dec. 26 season opener at Phoenix. Since then, New Orleans is 1-7 in games decided by three points or less, as well as 9-25 in games with a margin of 10 points or fewer.

Gordon, who is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer, acknowledges that his impact should be measured by how much he improves the team’s on-court results. He expressed frustration Tuesday at not being able to help the often-shorthanded Hornets win more games this season.

"I’m not a very emotional player. I just try to lead by example on the court,” he said. “I’m not an overemotional type of player. (But) I’m not able to lead by example by not being on the court."

"This is my contract year, so I’m definitely going to have something to prove. Obviously winning is the No. 1 key to that."

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