Jrue Holiday out against Timberwolves in second game of back-to-back

by Jim Eichenhofer

MINNEAPOLIS – With the New Orleans Pelicans (43-37) playing the second game of a back-to-back and the middle contest of a three-games-in-four-nights stretch, point guard Jrue Holiday will sit out tonight vs. Minnesota. The decision was based on being cautious with a player who had just missed 41 games due to a stress reaction in his right leg.

“Jrue won’t play tonight,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said during pregame at Target Center. “We’re going to be smart with his leg, make sure he’s ready for the next game and ready for the rest of his career. As important as tonight is, his health is even more important.”

As was the case prior to Holiday’s return to the floor Friday vs. Phoenix, Toney Douglas will fill one of the backup guard roles, along with Norris Cole. Douglas and Cole have done well as a tandem in pressuring opposing ballhandlers.

“Toney will fill that slot, and we’ve played well with Toney,” Williams said. “His defense, and at times his offense, has helped us win games.”

Asked if he was tempted to play Holiday given the importance of Monday’s game against the Timberwolves, Williams said, “You can’t do anything that’s going to jeopardize someone’s health. He’s been on a good track, and we don’t want to mess with that. Our best team is with Jrue on the floor. But I don’t have that option.”

Other notes from pregame in Minneapolis:

  • Asked for his reaction on Russell Westbrook’s technical and one-game suspension being rescinded, helping Oklahoma City (43-37) in its race with NOLA, Williams said: “It wasn’t a big deal for me. I understand how the league works – I’ve had techs rescinded. I heard about it in our (morning team) meeting. It doesn’t affect what we do. We have a game tonight, and we’re not playing OKC. But I understand how the league works. They understand the emotion of the game. We’ve got to focus on what we do, not anybody else’s program.”
  • All out for Minnesota due to injury: Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Anthony Bennett, Gary Neal. Kevin Garnett is listed as doubtful. The Wolves only used eight players in their last game Saturday at Golden State, including former NOLA forward Arinze Onuaku.